Operators: Brand Shopping’s Tough on Distributor Web Sites

CHICAGO (September 22, 2011 – PRNewswire)—Foodservice operators have difficulty finding and placing orders forspecific brands on distributor Web sites, according to a new report by Datassential.  Titled "How Operators Buy," the study found just 25 percent of restaurant operators who order online "always" or "often" search by brand, with many operators complaining that sites make it difficult to locate the specific brands they want. This opens the door to preferred brands being ignored when it matters most – at the time of purchase, according to the report.

Another hurdle for manufacturers is brand inconsistency on distributor ordering sites, according to Datassential. The company advises that the industry needs to work towards uniform presentation of brand names and product descriptions on these sites.  If abbreviations are used, they should be done in a way that is intuitive, easy to remember and aggressively promoted.

According to Datassential's Maeve Webster, "Branded manufacturers must ensure that operators can easily locate their products on ordering sites, and also make every effort to keep DSRs as up-to-date as possible on their new products. Better collaboration between manufacturers and distributors would be the best long-term solution. But where that isn't or won't be possible, it's critical that manufacturers provide operators with specific instructions on how to search for their brands."

The "How Operators Buy" report is part of Datassential's Keynote series on strategic insights for the foodservice industry.  It features feedback from more than 700 restaurant and noncommercial operators and is designed to help manufacturing companies and distributors maximize their product sales potential.  "While marketers often know what operators want, what's been missing is an understanding of how operators purchase those products," says Webster.

For more information on the full report, contact Ann Golladay at ann@datassential.com or 312-655-8310.



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