Over lunch at the NFRN’s national council last Wednesday, Canary Wharf retailer Peter Wagg told me about a customer’s email request last year for Peanut Butter M&Ms.
Peter’s daughter Janet did some research, saw they were only available in America, found a supplier and placed an order. Customers tried them, liked them and then asked if he could also import Coconut M&Ms.
Today, 18 months later, Peter dedicates a gondola end in each of his six stores to premium-priced American candy, including Twinkies and Hershey’s, merchandised with stars and stripes shelf-edge labeling. In two stores, these gondolas contribute a third of all confectionery sales.
As well as promoting his candy range on his website, in-store screens and social media, on 4 July he ran a promotion offering 20% off all American confectionery and magazines. He features a different retro sweet on the counter each fortnight and on Black Friday this week is offering 5% off everything in-store, including tobacco. at a time when there is very little genuine new product development, it is possible to create excitement
I love this story for three reasons. First, it demonstrates passion for business, customer service and trying something new. Second, it shows that, even at a time when there is very little genuine new product development, it is possible to create excitement, give customers something new and drive impulse sales.
And third it serves Peter’s vision to make the News on the Wharf name as prominent in Canary Wharf as the WH Smith brand is nationally. His promotions are as much about getting customers in the psyche that his stores are the number one destination for American sweets as they are about seeing an immediate uplift. The theatre reinforces this.
Whatever your store type, ask yourself which elements of Peter’s vision, and its execution, can be applied to your business.