How important is Innovation to your business and why?
Effective ranging is vital for maintaining repeat business from customers. There is so much choice across the sector. Providing a complete offering is essential to ensure customers are not disillusioned by too narrow a range and no longer see you as a destination store where they can shop confidently.
What three things have you done in the last 12 months that set you apart in Innovation?
- We appointed a duty manager whose main role is to look at our range, pricing and margin. We’ve told him that with food to go, for example, we need to be looking at a 26% margin.
- We are now producing quarterly management accounts, whereas before we were relying on annual accounts. This way we’re able to identify which areas are more profitable and react accordingly. It’s easy to be sentimental about products, but everything has to earn its place.
- We’ve ring-fenced money to ensure our availability levels are upheld. We know that in this store we need to have about £100,000 worth of stock out in the shop to make it look right.
What’s the biggest trend or challenge you’ve adapted to in the last 12 months?
Availability was a bit of a challenge through the summer but as an independent we could source from other suppliers. Vaping is the largest trend and it is vital to be aware of what’s on-trend. We also need to avoid getting caught with buying up lots of products when the popularity of vape brands changes.
What’s the biggest and best change you’ve made in your business in the last 12 months and why?
We’ve noticed that since last June parcel services have increased exponentially. That drives footfall and the commission is now a significant part of our business’s income. Our PayPoint rep was in the other day and said last year’s commission was £17,500 for those parcels.
What have you done to retain shoppers in the last 12 months?
We maintain shop discipline – we are really critical and are always looking to improve. We keep our merchandising fresh and provide training for our staff to maintain excellent customer service. All new staff are trained to provide good service and they invite customers to request products they’d like us to stock.
Who would you recommend retailers to turn to if they’re looking to improve Effective Ranging?
I’d suggest planograms from your wholesaler, read trade magazines, and also welcome visits from representatives. We have quite a few reps who come in and see us.