The product range is just one element of the Christmas package put together by 3663 to help its customers make the most of one of the key trading times of 2009.
After extensive research into the market and its customers’ needs the company has come up with a package that also includes tailored advice, menu solutions, promotions and customer rewards.
Isabelle Davis, marketing manager at 3663, explains: “We know what our customers want – value for money, a variety of products and rewards that can help them build their business. We have focused on these key areas to drive their bottom line.
“In line with the findings of our research our offer is traditional, but we’ve also introduced new products with a modern twist. We know our customers are time poor, so we have taken the hassle out of planning Christmas by creating a number of pre-costed menu options where operators can purchase a set buffet or three course Christmas meal and sell it out at a fixed price.
“We have also made it as easy as possible for customers to find what they are looking for. The traditional Christmas brochure has seen a complete makeover and there will be a dedicated Christmas website where customers will be able to find information on the latest offers and menu advice.
The advice includes food and wine matching with 3663 using its link-up with ViVAS, the joint venture it formed with Bibendum Wine, to suggest combinations such as Paramount beef Wellington with St-Emilion and Long Clawson Stilton Wedges with Chianti Castellani.
The company has also ensured that all of its 170 field sales staff and its telesales teams are fully briefed on the products they are selling. To give them first hand experience of the products ‘Tasty Fridays’ have been held at depots where staff have been able to sample the products.
As part of its research the company looked at sales patterns from last Christmas and developing trends in the market. Davis says that the market has been moving away from chilled and into more frozen products as chefs seek to cut out wastage.
It also found that most menu planning was only completed between September and November – except for hotels which plan their menus between January and August – and that ordering was left to the last moment (October to December) with very little pre-ordering.
The research also showed that confectionery sales experienced strong growth over Christmas 2008, particularly in pubs, bars and cafés, so for the first time 3663 has brought its entire Christmas confectionery range together in its own brochure.
Offering value to customers rated above everything else in 3663’s customer research. In response it has developed a number of reward programmes under the umbrella “Cash in for Christmas’.
Christmas Deals is built around the top selling lines such as turkey, sprouts and pigs in blankets. Based on a traditional Christmas menu, popular lines are grouped together so that if a customer buys a certain product, another item automatically comes free. For example, when a customer purchases prawns, they will get a seafood sauce free to create a prawn cocktail or they will receive free sprouts if they purchase four turkeys. Forty different Christmas Deals will be running between October and December and customers will be kept up to date with the changing offers online and through MarketPlace, 3663’s promotional brochure.
Christmas Coins is a new Christmas incentive programme which guarantees a reward for the customer. It replaces 3663’s previous reward programme, ChequeOut, and customers can collect points by purchasing from a range of 400 products to redeem against store vouchers, electrical goods and experience days.
Safari is a third reward programme which is already running. Launched in March it gives customers the chance to win ‘once in a lifetime’ prizes. It comprises five Safari seasons, including Santa’s Safari for Christmas, when 45 prizes will be given away including a safari holiday, camera, laptop and other prizes.