View Full Version : Letter to post to local shops - feedback

Kesley Cage
Nov 8th, 2012, 07:04 PM
Hello fellow vegans! :-)

Below is my rough draft for a letter to be sent to local shops in my area, and I am hoping to pass it on to other vegans who can send it to their local shops too. I am also thinking of using this letter as a petition to send to nationwide and global supermarkets.

This is a very ambitious project and I would really appreciate any feedback any of you could submit such as tips on my persuasive language and any omissions or suggestions for things you think I have missed that would be of benefit.

Though there are many I could recommend, I have not included any brand named products in this letter so as to remain impartial.

8th November 2012
To the Director,

RE: Your business can change the world.

Animals are unethically tested on in the cosmetic and medical industry. For your business, a preferable increase in cosmetic and medical products not tested on animals is required to meet the demands of compassionate animal-lovers.

Animals in the farming industry suffer greatly and unfortunately you contribute to animal cruelty by stocking meat and dairy products. For the growing number of people now waking up to the ethical implications of an animal-based diet, a greater increase in variety of specially prepared vegan foods is now in demand.

Soya products are not suitable, as many customers are health-conscious and have researched the effects of oestrogen mimicking chemicals within these products which have been scientifically proven to impair brain activity in toddlers and decrease fertility in men. Whilst it has been proven to reduce certain kinds of cancers, soya has also been linked to the increase in other types of cancer. There are many soya alternatives for vegans which you can research, some examples are: coconut milk and textured wheat protein.

Oestrogen mimicking parabens can also be found in many skin care products that you stock. The long term effect of parabens is has been linked to cancer. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is another cancer causing chemical in many of your cosmetic products like tooth paste and bubble bath. Please note that anything placed on to the skin the body absorbs. Natural products are usually best for the health.

Plastic and non-FSC packaging causes immense harm to the natural environment. Please stock products with biodegradable, responsibly sourced packaging. Harsh cleaning chemicals also cause damage to customer’s health and have a negative effect on the planet’s eco-system, please choose safer natural products to meet the demand for responsible cleaning. To care for the environment, you may also investigate the many competitively priced initiatives who provide energy from renewable sources.

Corruption is massively present in commerce. Many of the world’s commercial giants are based on greed and suppression of human and animal rights, damage to the environment, government bribery and threats to public health. You can consider investing in alternative fair trade products, finding ways to stock produce from smaller ethical businesses of direct interest to the local community and offering more organic and other well-sourced ethical products.

Every day presents its trials and tribulations to all beings, always believe in the power of a compassionate attitude and warm smile to transform the world. Show gratitude and value each of your customers with a smile and they will value you, a thousand times more.

If you wish to respond to this contact for further information or support, you may email: yourconcernedpatron@gmx.co.uk

With kindest wishes and gratitude,
Your concerned patron.

Nov 8th, 2012, 08:27 PM
Soya products are not suitable, as many customers are health-conscious and have researched the effects of oestrogen mimicking chemicals within these products which have been scientifically proven to impair brain activity in toddlers and decrease fertility in men. Whilst it has been proven to reduce certain kinds of cancers, soya has also been linked to the increase in other types of cancer..

I don't want to start a soya debate but that is quite alarmist.

Nov 8th, 2012, 08:50 PM

Good idea, first for supporting local stores, and secondly for helping get the message out there.

It might be a good thing to concentrate just on one or two ideas, rather than a number of points, simply because (as we know to our cost!) veganism can take some explaining. Perhaps something along the lines of 'lots of potential customers like me want to reduce their consumption of meat, dairy and eggs. Stocking a range of animal-free products will help your vegan / lactose-intolerant customers as well as those with allergies to things like eggs and shellfish.'

And maybe list some products to help the shop? Eg Alpro and Kara milks, Linda McCartney products, Kinnerton chocolate, Beanfeast, etc.

The jury still seems to be out on soya products, as far as I can tell. And it's in so many non-vegan things in any case, we don't want to scare off the punters :surprised_ani:

Short and sweet! Just like me! Actually, I'm not that short, in case anyone is asking....:lol:

Nov 8th, 2012, 11:03 PM
Letters don't usually start with a 'RE:', unless it's in response to previous communications. Also, I think the line "Your business can change the world." would likely land your letter in the bin without being read. Also, as Blackpoolvegan (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/member.php?19042-Blackpoolvegan) said, best to stick to one or two ideas. Remove negative statements, everything needs to be a positive. Don't tell them what's wrong with products they may currently sell but what's better about products they could be selling. Make it about how they can gain new customers and make more profit.

EDIT: Also, your letter gives the impression that soya is not suitable for vegans.

Clueless Git
Nov 9th, 2012, 11:45 AM
'Lo Kesley,

A most worthy idea and big nods to you for thinking about actualy doing something matey (or is it matess?) :)

M'personal input (I'm a small business owner with a background in high pressure sales and passive marketing, btw), very breifly, would be this.

The letter as it stands is simply an appeal (a very well written one, mind!) to conscience, and conscience alone, as it stands. Unfortunately the chances of any small business taking the risks (changing shelf space from proven sellers to unproven sellers, potential wastage of slow moving stock, etc ..) of even a minor change based on conscience alone is so infinitesimaly small as to be something of a joke.

A 'call to action' letter needs to take into account the three sole motivators. Those being Need, Greed and Prestige.

Greed is the prime motivator and appeals to greed need to constantly hammer home answers to the only thing that will be on most peoples minds whilst in business mode: "What is in this for ME?"

Little short of time right now, but a few ideas to chuck around ...

A heading that is a direct appeal to greed like "How to profit from a growing new market"; State the size of the market currently, %wise, and any credible sources that estimate its growth. Use questions like "have you noticed the 'explosion' of meat and dairy free lines in the stores of the major players", "did you know that informed customers will pay x% more for ethical goods?" (linking that one to key factors the shop owner may benefit from by informing his customers of, of course).

In short you should probably have a little read up on some "how to write a perfect sales letter" articles and adapt your letter to include hooklines, feature to benefit matches, success-v-failure stories and things of that sort.

Best of luck!

Nov 9th, 2012, 01:27 PM
I like what you are doing Kesley, and like others have said maybe showing the businesses how they will benefit will get you further. Maybe if more vegans contacted their local shops and supermarkets informing them of the need for vegan products things would change more quickly. :)

Nov 9th, 2012, 03:07 PM
Hi Kesley. I agree with the others, great idea to do this. Part of my job is writing copy for mailshots and similar and this is what I've learned:

1) best to focus on one main idea per letter (e.g. the market for vegan foods is growing but vegans can't always find what they want)
2) include a "what's in it for me?" message to appeal to hardnosed business people (e.g. they can make money by selling vegan food)
3) have a specific call to action (thing that you want them to do, e.g. stock more vegan foods and label them clearly).

There have been some reports recently that the market for "meat-free" foods is growing, maybe you could use some of the figures to show that they can make money by doing what you want: http://retailtimes.co.uk/meat-free-and-free-from-sales-set-to-top-1bn-in-uk-in-2013-mintel-reports/

Another good idea is to start with something positive, e.g. congratulate them on a recent change they have made that you like, or say what a loyal customer you are - they are liable to take more notice that way.

ETA sorry, I see most/all of this has already been said but at least you have a consensus :D

Nov 10th, 2012, 12:51 PM
Maybe start with a slight introduction (eg. "I'm a local resident and I'm writing to inform you of...") rather than just start with a sentence that goes straight into an issue. Sort of create a context for it first if that makes sense?

Nov 10th, 2012, 04:41 PM
As a marketing grad, I agree with all the posters up there. At the same time, congratulations on making this effort! It's wonderful :-)