‘We got 17,000 clicks in one day’
Keeping up with the latest food and drink trends is crucial to the running of any modern convenience store in order to keep profits high and customers happy – this is what Coventry retailer Aman Uppal, of One Stop Mount Nod, has strived to do, by reinventing his stock to match what shoppers want.
“One of the biggest trends in the past 12 months has been the growth in ice drink machines, such as Tango Ice Blast and F’Real. Both machines complement each other, and we’ve seen massive repeat purchases,” he says.
“We attracted more than 17,000 engagements from a Facebook post about the Tango Ice Blast machine in a 24-hour period. Similarly, when we got the F’Real machine last year, we gained around 10,000 engagements within 48 hours.
“Shoppers came in to post pictures on Instagram and take videos for TikTok.”
Aman explains that another trend the store has benefitted from is protein-based foods.
“We have started to stock frozen protein-based meal pots from a brand called Gold Star Nutrition – a national company that just got a listing in Iceland, although we’d been stocking it for some time before,” he says.
“We get them from a customer of ours who owns a gym – it’s all about supporting local businesses where you can as well. Stocking it gave our shoppers access to products they would have normally found only in health stores or gyms.”
Now, he says, the store receives six deliveries per week from GreenCore, which is a sandwich manufacturer, via One Stop. Being part of One Stop for four years, he adds, has also allowed him to become an Independent Achievers Academy Top 100 retailer for four consecutive years.
Furthermore, with the looming menthol ban, Aman says he has been speaking to his menthol smokers about the alternatives on offer.
“I’d say half of my shoppers will use it as a chance to quit smoking, and the other half will turn to vaping. Although, we have had a few people try the new Sterling Dual Capsule Leaf Wrapped, so we’ll be looking to extend our alternatives range at a later date,” he explains.
One of the biggest challenges that all businesses around the UK are facing is the threat of the coronavirus, which has sent retail spinning.
Aman says safety is the number-one priority. “We adopted social distancing long before it was announced from the government. When things took a turn in Italy and Spain, we started to copy the measures they had put into place immediately.
“When many people lost their jobs, we knew we had to help. In turn, we welcomed back an old staff member who had gone to pursue a career as a chef last year, as she had unfortunately been made jobless.
“It’s all about helping one another – from local businesses to old staff members – as much as possible.”
1. Prioritise your social media activity
“Be active on social media because it lets you communicate with customers and connect with brands and other retailers. You can learn what people want and what’s trending,” says Aman.
2. Join a trade association
“Join a trade body like the NFRN or ACS because there is a lot of help on offer from them, such as legal advice, and you can be certain that it’s all assured and reliable,” he says.
3. Back locak suppliers
“Support local suppliers, especially in times like these, as when there have been critical stock levels, they’ve been able to provide faster support than symbol groups and wholesalers,” he explains.
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