If you go into PK’s shop on a Friday or Saturday evening you will see disco lights flashing and hear dance tunes playing over the speakers.
It’s not just to keep his staff entertained – it boosts his booze sales at the weekend and on special occasions such as Valentines Day. This is typical of the way PK understands his customers and how he has made his shop the hub of this rural community.
“Customers really like the lights and music – it’s a feel-good factor and they tend to pick up more wine,” he says.
“We play slower music during the day, when it tends to be our more elderly customers, and then faster music in the evening.
“The most important thing is to listen to your customers. Just ask them what they want.”
Shop: North Leverton Village Stores (Premier)
Location: North Leverton, Retford, Notts
Started trading: June 2006
Hours: 6am-9pm Monday to Friday, 7am-8pm Saturday, 9am-5pm Sunday
Size: 1,500sq ft
Style: Community off-licence store in a very rural area with no immediate competitors and surrounded by several villages without a shop
When PK bought the shop it was just a “shabby” little post office and he has consistently invested in and expanded the retail offering. He decided 18 months ago to fully refurbish the shop and since then he has doubled turnover to around £19,000 a week including services.
LED lighting has reduced his overheads and also makes for a bright, clean atmosphere along the aisles. Booker’s Butcher’s Market range of fresh meats has started to take off, driving up the average basket spend of shoppers. This range could get a boost over the summer, following PK’s decision to sell barbecues based on feedback from customers.
“Since the refit I’ve had a lot of new people coming in,” he says.
“It’s made a huge difference and our shoppers have started to notice and buy a greater range of products.”
Confectionery is still his strongest category though, popular with customers of all ages. Perhaps unusually these days, he still has a strong count line business, with the £1 Cadbury bars selling particularly well.
Alcohol is another winner, and he has pitched his offering just right to attract both price-sensitive shoppers and the more affluent residents who know their wine and are prepared to pay more than £10 a bottle.
Price-marking has been especially effective in his alcohol range. Since introducing Echo Falls price-marked at £5.49 a bottle it has really started to shift, even though he was previously selling it without a price-mark just one penny dearer at £5.50.
The pre-mix Gordon’s and tonic tins are also starting to do very well and he has two or three repeat customers that come in to buy it.
In the soft drink aisle, own-brand lines Euro Shopper and Happy Shopper are performing “really” well and he is benefiting from Premier’s Mega Deals offer, which has been advertised in The Sun.
1) Expand your services. Since extending his post office hours under the ‘Local’ model, PK’s parcel traffic has increased 400%, bringing new customers into his shop
2) Create a buzz with your display: PK has driven up booze sales by installing disco lights and playing music in his store
3) Use price-marks to increase sales: since changing to Smirnoff price-marked at £13.49 he has been selling a case and a half a week
There is a strong community aspect to the village and when the shop was flooded in 2007, lots of villagers came in to help him set the shop to rights.
PK pays the goodwill back by sponsoring a children’s football team in Retford, and raising cash for the Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. He also works with the nearby Redbank Children’s Home, giving the kids there, who have eating disorders and learning disabilities, the chance to get involved by delivering his leaflets.
“The thing I enjoy most about retail is the customer interaction and having a laugh with your shoppers,” says PK.
“When you get to know them it’s brilliant and the best way of making people aware of your shop is by word of mouth.”