Kirti Patel’s new tactics made his store a success
Ongoing trends have pushed Kirti Patel to change his tactics and try new products. Tamara Birch finds out how he’s making his store a success.
Londis Ferme Park Road
Stroud Green, London
A short walk away from Finsbury Park in London, Kirti Patel’s Londis Ferme Park Road has been with the symbol group for 40 years.
The store underwent a major transformation seven years ago to focus on market-leading trends and offer customers a range that’s hard to beat.
“We do our best to keep up to date with new trends as much as we can. As a retailer, you need to move with the times, so we try new products every week,” he says. “Through trial and error we have found a system that works.”
With an increasing amount of people in the UK looking to live more healthily, Kirti noticed the opportunity to stock vegetarian, vegan and organic alternatives in store and meet shopper demands as they continue to adapt their diets.
Knowing convenience is key, Kirti dedicated time to researching the upcoming trend before introducing the products in his shop.
“I’ve seen the rise in veganism go from strength to strength, and consumers don’t want to be going to different stores to purchase the products they need,” he says.
“So, I started to build relationships with specialist suppliers who could introduce specialist products.”
Kirti researched online to find local suppliers, attended events and trialled products to find the right range for his customers.
His work with local suppliers has also allowed Kirti to introduce a range of craft beer that he says is only found in his store.
“Our craft beer selection is unique, 100% organic and premium priced to produce a bigger margin,” he says.
“I’ve had craft beer stocked for the past three years, and it’s now one of my most popular categories, with more customers choosing organic every week.”
Every category in Kirti’s store has an organic, vegan or vegetarian option, like organic shampoo that’s also vegan. He explains that it’s been a long road to stocking a range that appeals to most of his customer base.
“Our customers are young professionals and families, so it was key to get our offering right,” he says.
“We identify slow sellers using our EPoS and check it fortnightly to determine how well our categories are doing.”
Kirti’s stocks a new product for a minimum of eight weeks to see how it performs, which is what he did with his most recent success, the Eat Real range of hummus and lentil chips.
He estimates that two months is an accurate time-frame to determine if a product will be popular. “After that, we make the decision to expand the line or delist the product,” he says.
For instance, Kirti’s recently expanded his nut selection in sharing bags and gift boxes, which has proved very popular with shoppers.
He says the positioning of the products has been vital. Wine is another big category for Kirti’s and he has worked hard to create an impactful display to drive sales.
He found customers weren’t noticing wine on the bottom shelves, so he placed stylish, angled wooden boxes on them to make the bottles stand out more. He found this increased sales almost instantly.
In his journey to become the only destination for his customers, Kirti’s made the decision to stock fresh Cook products to meet customer demand.
“We knew our customers were choosing to be healthier, but we also knew they didn’t always have time to cook when they arrived home late,” he says.
“Since stocking the Cook range, we’ve seen our sales increase. Our customers trust the brand and keep returning to buy more.”
Kirti’s aims to offer something for everyone in his store, including international brands at the best price possible.
He will continue to expand his healthier selection in a bid to offer his customers a range of options and take away the need to shop elsewhere. “Healthy eating is a long-term trend, with the market growing every year,” Kirti’s says.
“Stocking organic and vegan products works for us and our customer base, but getting it right requires a lot of research and customer recommendations.”
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