The shop also boasts the biggest children’s trends – American confectionery and soft drinks flavours, Fortnite merchandise and old-fashioned penny sweet bags. Asked about the secret to having relevant rangings for school children, he answers: “It is really simple. Listen to your kids.”
What unites all these and many more successful additions to his store, is a coherent social media strategy that runs throughout the shop and is even visible on the till, where a Facebook ‘likes’ counter ticks over whenever someone likes the store’s Facebook page. “It’s brilliant – we get people liking the page just to see the counter go up,” he says.
Evidence that the approach works can be found in Vas’s ‘Loser’s Lottery’ competition. He posts online that those who bring a losing lottery ticket from the last week into the store will be entered into a draw for £10 store credit, and announces the winners online. It receives 200 entries per week, providing a reliable sales boost. “It doesn’t even matter whether they bought the ticket here or not, it’s just a good way of driving footfall” he says.
With high tobacco sales, the shop owner works hard to find other ways to improve the overall store margin, through energy savings, using credit cards with cashback offers and also cashback loyalty cards.
He also uses non-traditional channels to source stock, such as online site Ali Baba.
He says: “I used to go to the cash and carry six days a week, but that just doesn’t happen
anymore – we look elsewhere.”