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Tesco and Iceland Foods Say Xmas Food Shortage is Coming. Here’s What Marketers Should Do

In many respects, it seems like most of us – brands, marketers, and just plain people of the world – have seen easier times. Most of us – I hope – ask and find and get and give some help and persevere. But we all have our red lines. Christmas food could very much be such a red line for many. 

And it seems like it could be crossed this coming holiday season. 

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“Britons may not be able [to find] all their favorite foods over the holiday season this year as Christmas dinner could be impacted by food shortages in supermarkets,” report Yahoo! Finance, “The industry has warned that Brexit, the pandemic and a shortage of lorry drivers is creating serious supply chain issue.” 

Additionally, “a company which supplies food to care homes and restaurants says it is taking ‘drastic action’ to try to get round the shortage of UK lorry drivers,” says the BBC, adding that “on Wednesday, both Tesco and Iceland [Foods] said there could be some shortages on the shelves in the run up to the key Christmas trading period.” 

And while you might be thinking, “what’s in it for marketing executives and CRM marketers,” the answer is twofold: 

First, this is a probable crisis that has the potential to annoy customers seriously. And, as we all should know by now – it doesn’t matter if a brand is to blame or not; such a crisis must prompt action in the form of brand communications and customer relationships. It is also an opportunity. 

This brings us to the second thing – this is an opportunity to pre-manage the crisis by doing the thing on which happiness relies: Set. Expectations. Make sure your customers know what is coming so that they could prepare or find alternatives. Be proactive in offer alternatives. 

And, above all, be what brands must always be these days: transparent and helpful. These are the things that sit at the heart of the building and nurturing of meaningful customer relationships in the current zeitgeist. And possibly empty shelves are really not the occasion you should use to roll back on your transparency. On the contrary – this is when customers test you. Their favorite product might not be there for them, but you can and should. That’s another red line you don’t want to cross. 

Oh, and whatever you do – don’t throw blame around. It’s just not cool. 

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