Retail innovation – Academy in Action 2019

In week six of our 12-week programme, the IAA and category partner Upfield visit Premier store owner Meten Lakhani to help him become a more innovative retailer

In week six of our 12-week programme, the IAA and category partner Upfield visit Premier store owner Meten Lakhani to help him become a more innovative retailer

upfield.pngInnovative retailing enables shop owners to implement a new product, service or process to improve operations and increase profit. Being innovative in your store means recognising an opportunity, understanding the potential gains and having a plan to achieve it.

Before benchmarking, find out how Eve Walmsley from Upfield highlighted ideas for Meten Lakhani and helped him to create an action plan so he can take his store to the next level.

St Mary’s Supermarket has been a family-run business for 40 years, with Meten running it for the past 20. The 2,800sq ft store is in a prime location, with the local university a short walk away, and is surrounded by hotels, restaurants and a hospital.

With a weekly turnover of £60,000, how can the IAA help Meten find ways to innovate that stretch his sales even further?

Name Meten Lakhani

Shop St Mary’s Supermarket (Premier)
Location Southampton
Size 2,800sq ft
Staff Three full-time, two part-time

Why I take part

Why-I-take-part.pngMy family has been in retail for 40 years, but there are always things you can learn and improve. I hope that this visit will give me ideas and help me create a strategy to increase my sales and push my business forward. I also want to learn how I can make small changes throughout my shop to make a big difference to my bottom line.

IAA advice

Action-1.pngMeten’s challenge: Targeting new customers through social media 

Meten uses social media when big events are happening in the area, but feels he does not know enough about the platform to use it to target local groups. How can he use social media to improve his presence?

Eve says: “Meten is in a popular area with a lot of local businesses and events happening close by. Social media is a great way to alert people to your offer, especially as attendees visiting these places or events often don’t know the area. Telling new people about your store by using hashtags for specific events is a great way to increase sales.”

Action: Use local and event-specific hashtags on social media posts to point new people to your shop. 

Action-2.pngMeten’s challenge: Placing items in empty spaces to promote different meal times 

Meten has a wide range of products in store for every occasion. As you enter the store, there’s a fantastic confectionery display on one side, but the other doesn’t inspire impulse purchases. How can Meten add inspiration and increase sales?

Eve says: “Products like cereal bars and muffins are great for on-the-go customers. Multipacks tend to be popular as shoppers don’t always have time to leave the office. Placing them in an area where customers will see them could boost sales. Try taking a section and arranging some impulse items there. Try changing it from breakfast to lunch, and monitor the impact it has on basket spend.”

Action: Place a few breakfast items near the entrance, changing them at lunch, and monitor how it affects sales. 

Action-3.pngMeten’s challenge: Highlighting healthier products to customers

Meten has increased his dairy-free and gluten-free range over the past few years, but he is unsure of how to make sure customers are seeing all these products throughout the store. Is there something Meten can do to increase sales in this category?

Eve says: “Healthy trends such as dairy-free are on the rise. Meten has a wide range of these products, but it’s how he grows this category to increase spend. Highlighting products with no dairy or gluten in them through stickers can alert customers to these products and make it easier for them to find what they’re looking for.”

Action: Create a colour-coding system to highlight the different free-from ranges in the store.

Partner advice

Eve Walmsley
Category Manager
Innovation is vital, and being inventive can really set independent retailers apart. It’s clear that Meten is passionate and switched on, which are key to success. Implementing today’s ideas should help increase his sales.


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