Taylor’s of Tickhill – ‘We’ve worked hard to build our brand’

Family-run Taylor’s of Tickhill is staffed deli and cheese counters and fine foods and wines. They use ShopAppy so customers can order online.


Location: Doncaster, South Yorkshire

Hours: 9am-12:30pm and 1.45pm-5.30pm Mon-Thu, 8.30am-5.30pm Fri-Sat, Closed Sunday

Staff: 14

Size: 2,500sq ft

Trading since: 1946

With more than 70 years of trading in a small civil parish, family-run Taylor’s of Tickhill may sound like an unlikely place to find a radical merging of localism and online retail, but it is.

The store has grown up with its customers, expanding from a newsagents to an expansive grocery store with staffed deli and cheese counters, conveyor belt tills and shelves full of fine foods. It’s a convenience store that avoids convenience staples such as, food to go, tobacco and news to focus on being a grocery specialist.

Chris Taylor says: “We’ve been careful to really build our brand and make sure it is conveyed to customers. If someone asked a customer what we stand for, I hope they’d say quality service and quality products.”

The store’s recently refreshed wine selection is the best example of this mantra.

“We’ve spent a lot of time and effort building a truly unique wine offering, where every product is tasted and tested before we agree to range it,” Chris explains.

“It has to be the best in its category to make it in store, and then every bottle will have handwritten, unique tasting notes to support customers in their decision.”

Chris describes himself as a wine enthusiast not an expert, but his knowledge makes the store’s selection well placed in a town full of expert tradespeople – butchers, bakers, grocers, florists, fishmongers, bakers and coffee houses.

Through the support of local people and a collaborative way of doing business, these independents have kept much of the high street in the hands of local businesses. Chris’s approach to getting his store online followed the same ethos.

He says: “A friend told me I should put Taylor’s of Tickhill online, but my response was, ‘why don’t we put the entire village online?’” Through ShopAppy, Tickhill became one of the first towns in the UK with a central online marketplace, where customers can order goods online from a variety of local stores, and collect it from one location or have it delivered.

For instance, Taylor’s of Tickhill provides an ‘in the dog house dinner’, which allows a customer to order, collect and cook a three-course meal in less than 30 minutes and includes goods from Chris’s store, the grocer’s, the butcher’s and even the florist’s.

Chris is now focusing on making sure Taylor’s of Tickhill will be as relevant to its audience in the next 70 years as it has been in the past 70 years. He says: “We are very aware that for younger generations everything comes from a mobile phone, but our current demographic is a lot older. We have to manage the transition as our audience begins to shift from one to the other, and technology is a large part of this.”

Interestingly, the store has been providing many trending online convenience aspects offline for decades, such as home delivery, monthly billing and meal for tonight ordering. It’s the store’s hope that the online portal will allow it to provide the same high customer service to a new audience.

Top tips

EPos can beat minimum wage increases

Chris says: “ Through EPoS data we discovered that after opening at 8.30am, we’d only serve two or three customers before 9am. By reducing our opening hours we negated the impact of wage increases.”

Get customers to buy more

Chris focuses on driving impulse purchases. “When you see customers without baskets with arms full of goods you know you are doing it right,” he explains.

Delivering to shoppers delivers more sales

The cost of delivering to customers is offset by bigger spends. He says: “It really increases customer spend because people will buy more if they know they don’t have to carry it home.”

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