Part 11: My Family Shopper experience: The first 100 days

I can’t believe it, but my Family Shopper store in High Blantyre opened for business a 100 days ago!

Trading with this new retail concept has been brilliant with sale above my expectations and well on course to meet my profit goals for the first year of trading.

I will happily admit that there have been some challenges like the credit and debit card facility not working on opening day or not getting our off license until a month after we opened. These irritations were no cause for panic or stress, as I knew they could and would be solved. My formula with difficulties and challenges is to stay calm, not lose my temper or get frustrated with people and find the right solution. If I get stressed this gets picked up by my staff which effect how they work and relay to our customers, so I don’t do stress!

I was granted an off license for the store on 9th December and it was the missing piece of the range for many of our customers. Since starting to sell alcohol we have seen turnover leap by between 40% and 45%. I knew that it would be an important category, but have been surprised by the demand.

Of course sales don’t just happen by opening a shop in a new community and putting in the terrific value range that Family Shopper allows us to do, I have been running marketing campaigns using the Blantyre Family Shopper Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/familyshopper. These include weekly competitions as a Facebook community builder, the “selfie” promo had nearly 1500 hits and plenty of entries and fantastically priced single product offers. A recent deal on Glens Vodka saw a doubling of sales.

Relationships matter

moOpening a store in a new community means making relationships with a whole new group of customers. One of the ways my family and I show how we care is to open our stores on Christmas Day. We had a carer come in who looks after an elderly lady and said that the lady had no food in the house to eat never mind celebrate the day. It is terrible thing to hear especially that time of year. On Facebook I asked if everyone could think about knocking on their neighbors door to make sure they are ok and have something to eat. If their larder is empty please message me. I did get a message about another elderly person in need and gave a box of food to both of these people in need. I didn’t publicise what we did, but in a community like Blantyre word gets around and several people have spoken to me about the good deed since.

My new team

I have been delighted with the new team of people that I employed for my Family Shopper store. My top criteria when selecting new employees is do they have character and people skills. My new team do and I am very happy to say that they are all still with us. Over the next couple of weeks I will be undertaking performance review interviews with each of them, telling them how well they are doing and also talking to them about the areas where there are gaps in their store management skills. I can teach them about how I want the store to operate, but if employees don’t have an interest in people there is little I can do to change that.

The Summer of 2014 offers us three great sporting events to use as a framework to promote the store. These are The World Cup, The Commonwealth Games which is coming to Glasgow and The Ryder Cup will be at Gleneagles. I have spent the last few weeks putting together a series of promotions to make the most of these world class events.

My Family Shopper store has got off to a brilliant start and my team and I will be working very hard to build on this. During our first 100 days we have made lots of friends in High Blantyre and I look forward to making many more. With turnover and profit growing I think that I have the makings of a great business and am really looking forward to the challenge of making it grow.


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