A big focus for us at Eros Retail is unconventional thinking – looking for ideas from beyond the normal sphere of convenience retail.

It’s all part of our philosophy that retail isn’t about being bog standard. It’s about being different, and it’s working. For instance, we are currently examining how we can change our coffee offering. It’s easy to put in a Costa Coffee machine, but what happens if a Costa opens next door, or another store gets the same machine? By developing our own offering based not on what’s available but what’s needed, we create a point of difference from other stores and even other food service locations.

This unconventional thinking ethos is all about the local level and includes exploring different ranging, sourcing and marketing for each store based on the demographics’ needs. This can be advertising your food to go at builder’s merchants, sending product hampers to local retirement homes, examining what you buy at the supermarket because you can’t get it in your own shop, or building direct relationships with suppliers rather than relying on distributors.

As a business, we’d previously focused on expanding our retail estate on a macro level, so to spend time looking at ways to change our stores on a micro level like this is a slightly different way of thinking, but it’s what we all need to do. The market is changing on a daily basis so it’s not enough to measure yourself by the store next door.

The same goes with what to watch in the news. While Tesco-Booker may grab industry headlines, it’s Amazon-Wholefoods I’m watching. Rather than competitive, we want to be disruptive, looking outside the industry to the likes of Amazon or Apple to identify what customers want or to even tell customers what they want.

There’s always risks involved with being the first to do something, though the rewards are far greater. We’re leading the field, challenging the industry and building a reputation for it.

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