Building a customer base is the most important part of owning a business – it is of course the only way you are going to receive any income. But it is much easier building a return customer base when you can speak to each one of your customers every time you provide them with a service. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible with a distribution business. So let’s go through the steps. You’ve seen the particular delivery franchise for sale that you want to buy. You’ve decided to buy a distribution franchise focussing on being a fruit and veg supplier to homes and offices.
You’ve been through the process of purchasing the business and now you own it. It’s time to start planning.
In today’s busy lifestyle, everyone relishes the opportunity of having vegetable and fruit distributors deliver directly to their door. They get fresh, in season fruit and vegetables without needing to fight the crowds at the supermarket. This forms one step of building a customer base – providing your customers with fresh, in season fruit and vegetable to their door. You need to be able to provide good quality product delivered on time.
If the product quality isn’t so great (bad growing season etc) you need to be able to explain this to your customers. This is another step in building a customer base – being on top of the latest news in the industry and knowing what is going on with the growing seasons. You need to know if producers have had too much rain, too little rain, if the heat has affected their products etc. If you know these things, and take the time to explain them to your customers via newsletters or emails, you’re going to build a customer base that can trust you and your knowledge.
Talking of newsletters and emails, this is a great way to keep in touch with your customers. You can let them know what’s coming into the markets, what to expect in their orders and what’s happening in general with your business. You can also let customers know of any specials they may be interested in. Communication is the key to a good customer base – keep in touch with your customers on a regular basis and they are likely to keep ordering from you. Another way to keep your customer base is to ensure you deliver to your customers when you say you will. Don’t advise your customers you will deliver on a Tuesday and then end up delivering on a Wednesday. Customers might accept this once or even twice, but a lack of regularity will have them walking away and finding another fruit wholesale distributors.
Finally – everyone loves a discount. Offer specials and discounts where you can. Things such as half priced delivery, throw in an additional product or offer gift vouchers (if possible). All these things can keep customers coming back to you.
Remember: great customer service provides return and new customers which keep you in business.