09 Jul Warehouse Growth & Reputation:

This week we signed a lease that will almost double our Toronto warehouse space. This removes a major barrier to our growth by allowing us to buy in larger quantities whenever we need to, and this in turn allows us to focus on one of the central pillars of business success: reputation.

At Qualifirst, not only must we provide quality, value and service, we also need to continually create and enhance our reputation for doing so.

Improving the value proposition:

An important part of our strategy is to constantly improve the value proposition that we offer to our customers.

Every time we select a product to distribute, we have to stop and think, how will this product affect our reputation and how profitable will it be for us?

We sell many complementary products that help in the use of our primary line. This “secondary product selection” is very convenient for most of our customers and forms part of our high level of service, but can it can also hurt our reputation by making us seem overpriced.

Customers seldom take into consideration that to get a better price from a competitor, they would be forced to buy more from them and accept more rigid conditions of sales. Such facts are rarely taken into account when doing price comparisons.

Keeping the complementary products:

We have struggled with this dilemma for many years. Eliminating all of these complementary products would have a negative impact, so our decision has been to actively lower our costs by:

  1. buying more
  2. buying directly from the source
  3. finding larger customers that can greatly increase our sales volume
  4. finding better suppliers
  5. repackaging products in professional looking, lower cost packaging.

We often combine several of these strategies for one product, using the talents of our staff. For example, Jodi, Catherine and Ed have been focusing on cost savings on the purchasing side, while Nicole and Jodi have been focusing on making great looking, lower cost packaging.

cheaper and better looking packaging
Better looking and cheaper Packaging

We have made great strides so far with molecular gastronomy, spices, salts, olive oil and grains like Quinoa and black rice, and we will continue to work hard at bringing better value to our customers, both actual value and perceived value.

We have also been able to become price competitive with many of our complimentary products, which is something our sales reps can state confidently to customers.

As always, I am always eager to hear about success stories from our team, especially if they have something to do with our enhanced prices and packaging. I am also eager to hear about any situations where our value proposition has hurt our reputation, since this feedback is critical to our ongoing success.

Citation of the Week:

“Letting your customers set your standards is a dangerous game, because the race to the bottom is pretty easy to win. Setting your own standards–and living up to them–is a better way to profit. Not to mention a better way to make your day worth all the effort you put into it.”

― Seth Godin

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