How important is Innovation to your business and why?
Being environmentally sustainable connects you to the local community because it shows you care, and by people shopping with you they can show they care too. By keeping litter down and recycling we are giving back to the community and they often reciprocate by coming back in. It’s a hard one to put your finger on exactly, but it is all part of the bigger picture and what people look for in their local shop.
What three things have you done in the last 12 months that set you apart in Innovation?
- We’ve introduced a drinks machine that dispenses soft drinks and this has cut our usage of plastic bottles. Over the past year, 5,000 fewer plastic bottles are going to landfill.
- Disposable vapes are great for business but not so great for the environment so we have placed a recycling unit at the front of the store. It has been emptied five times already.
- We have all the lights on sensors and there are no light switches in the building. The lights go out after 10 seconds of someone being in the room. Any machines that aren’t running efficiently are out the door!
- Marketing to Customers
- Customer Service
- Effective Ranging
- Shop Layout
- Merchandising & Display
- Responsible Retailing
- Staff Development
- Service to the Community
- Environmental Sustainability
- Rising Star
in association with Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I
What’s the biggest trend or challenge you’ve adapted to in the last 12 months?
With empty vapes left here, there and everywhere we thought we could do something that would get us a lot of credibility. We now sell pod systems for Crystal and Elf, and as these are rechargeable it will reduce the amount of vapes being thrown away. These are also cheaper for customers as they are two for the price of one.
What’s the biggest and best change you’ve made in your business in the last 12 months and why?
Sponsoring the local littler picking group has been great. I love that they are picking up disposable vapes. I approached the lady who organises the group and asked if they needed any more litter pickers or high-vis jackets. I ended up giving them around £400 and asked them to include us in their social media posts and do a litter pick around our car park now and again.
What have you done to retain shoppers in the last 12 months?
We’ve just looked at how we can help the environment and how our ethos will help increase sales and customer retention. When we started the disposable vape discount it was giving a bit back to customers and building loyalty to the vaping section so it worked well together.
Who would you recommend retailers to turn to if they’re looking to improve Environmental Sustainability? Speak to the other IAA retailers and to suppliers to see what they are doing in this area. It is important to see what everyone else is doing in the IAA and borrow their ideas.