Having good availability means always having stock on shelves when customers need it the most. Regularly checking for gaps and keeping on top of your stock levels can help you keep shoppers loyal and encourage repeat purchases.
Before measuring how well you manage your availability, find out how Mark Southgate from Blu helped Rana Ali create an action plan to monitor sales and stock at his Spar in Errol, Perth.
Rana’s store is in a rural area and neighbours a pub, meaning strong availability is key to keeping customers loyal. His Spar has three areas to stock – frozen, ambient and chilled – but a small stock room makes maintaining high levels of availability a challenge.
Rana carries out stock checks once a week, so he risks losing track of when products are out of stock. How can the IAA help him reduce his gaps, increase availability and boost sales?
Name Rana Ali
Shop Spar Errol
Size 800sq ft
Staff Four full-time, one part-time
Why I take part
The IAA has been fantastic for my business and the team is always on hand to help with support and advice. Today, I hope to learn from the programme and Blu about how to improve my availability. The ideas they give me will hopefully help me improve my processes and therefore the service I provide to shoppers. I’m confident this will take my business to the next level and keep my customers coming back.
Rana’s challenge: Day-to-day checks
Rana gap scans his store once or twice a week while working with four suppliers to maintain his stock levels. By not gap-checking frequently, he is at risk of being out of stock on key lines. How can Rana address this to ensure he doesn’t lose important sales?
Mark says: “The way Rana currently manages his stock-taking process is reactive and his gap checks are too infrequent. By becoming proactive and regularly carrying out gap checks, you are more likely to keep bestsellers in stock and see a real improvement in sales.”
Action: Make sure you complete regular gap scans of your stock to identify any items that require replenishing.
Rana’s challenge: Managing suppliers and deliveries
Rana identifies low or out-of-stock lines by walking around his shop, which is time-consuming. This process diverts his attention from completing other tasks. What processes can Rana implement to be more efficient?
Mark says: “Ordering from multiple wholesalers is a challenge, but Rana does this well. Introducing a traffic-light system to highlight your top-selling lines with green stickers, slow-selling with red and core products with yellow can help identify the fast-selling items you need to pay attention to and avoid going out of stock of.”
Action: Implement a traffic-light system to identify the products that are most at risk of being out of stock.
Rana’s challenge: Day-to-day management
Rana completes stock takes himself and the stock remains unchecked if he is away, as he has not given his staff that responsibility. Bestselling items can be out of stock for days, risking sales and customer loyalty. How can Rana improve?
Mark says: “The hardest thing is finding good staff you can rely on, especially if you have been let down before. Finding someone and putting a bit of trust in them to help with stock rotation and gap checks will not only help replace items that are running low, but also give you time to focus on other areas of the store.”
Action: Trust staff with more responsibility – gap scans, for example – to improve availability levels.
Area Business Manager
Availability is a top priority for customers, so it should be at the top of every store owner’s agenda. Rana uses multiple suppliers well and organises the extra work in an effective way, but implementing this action plan will drive his sales even further.