“We’re always going to be here,” says Faisal Naseem, describing the steps he is taking to adapt his store to changing customer and legislative demands.
In the week before minimum unit pricing come into force in Scottish stores, Faisal is busy communicating the change to customers and developing his range.
This includes a weekend-long sales event, promoted on Facebook, that has customers coming into his shop to find out more. “It’s a huge opportunity in several ways. We can communicate that we will have the same prices as multiples, it helps us de-list heavily affected lines and we can include premium spirits in the sale as well to show the full range of what we offer.”
He adds that customers are stocking up on affected lines because he has let customers know about the change. “As a lot of stores de-list Frosty Jacks, it is selling like gold dust for us.”
At the counter, customers are informed about other products in an engagement process that begins as soon as the customer enters the store.
Faisal says: “Our great communication with our customers is the reason we are still here. With the competition from supermarkets, the service and range we offer is what keeps people coming back.”
He is able to maintain this by incentivising his staff. “We keep staff motivated with targets for upselling and rewards for great performance,” he explains.
As well as people skills, the store also focuses on tech to grow revenue and challenge the overall decline in alcohol sales. This includes using the Snappy Shopper app, which Faisal describes as “the best thing that has happened in the last couple of years.”
The app lets customers order online from local shops and have it delivered in less than an hour.
“It has boosted sales by £1,500 to £2,000 a week. I’m delivering to houses that have a convenience store across the road from them. The drivers tell me sometimes they pass nine stores on the way to a drop off, so it is reaching a customer that you would never have had otherwise,” he says.
The other successful tech service implemented in store is a loyalty scheme which works in partnership with the Retail Data Partnership. He has approximately 30-35 customers signed up, who are visiting more frequently and spending more. It also allows Faisal to send text promotions to them, and to retain sales that would otherwise end up in the pockets of a nearby rival.
He explains: “When Tesco are cheaper on a customer’s favourite alcohol line, the customer is still spending with us for those points.”
For Faisal’s Arbroath Party Time and his other three outlets, the World Cup is the big opportunity for 2018.
“Football is the international language of the world. It doesn’t matter that Scotland aren’t in it, it’s a huge opportunity because every household has someone who is into it and brings others on-board and into stores,” he says.