If your customers cannot visit your store, why not visit them instead? This simple concept plays a huge part in the business model of Punita and Manu Gorecha.
They may be relative rookies at retailing, having started out together in late 2013, but they have 20 years’ experience running a post office.
One of the first things they took on at their Newark store was a series of post office ‘surgeries’ held in the surrounding villages. Some of the nearby villages have two surgeries a week, and some have three.
- Price-marking is king: When Punita and Manu took over, none of the cigarettes that they sold were price-marked. They changed this, and saw a huge sales uplift.
- Serve the customer: Customer service is key, and extends to all areas of the store. If you’re new to your store, make sure you have an employee who knows the area and the customers.
- Spread the word: Do leaflet drops in the local area to let customers know about the promotional offers that you have available in your store.
“Any transactions we do in the post office here, we can do at the surgeries,” says Punita.
“When our staff visit, they take Christmas cards and stationery, and they also bring out orders for customers.”
It’s a great way not only of picking up some extra sales, but also marketing your business by letting people in surrounding towns know what you have to sell.
When they took over their shop it was a Mace. They believe the best decision they have made, since deciding to plunge headfirst into the retail business, was to partner up with Booker.
“The support from Premier has been brilliant,” says Manu.
“The fascia complements the post office really well and people like the prices.”
When Retail Express visited their store, they had increased weekly turnover to £9,000 including lottery. Their ambition is to increase that to £15,000. Booker’s prices and promotions have been key in getting their shoppers to up their basket spend.
A big change they have made is to their tobacco. Under the previous ownership, none of the cigarettes were price-marked. That has changed and there has been a big uplift in tobacco sales.
“You can’t go wrong with PMPs,” says Punita.
Their first customers of the day are typically workers on their way out in the morning, who will pick up a pack of cigarettes, a newspaper and a sandwich. At around 8am they are followed by the children, looking for sweets and crisps to take to school.
Punita says: “They can see the deals straight away as soon as they come into our shop. Two-for-£1 works really well on snacks.”
The team drop 1,000 leaflets per month to spread the word about their offers.
“With Premier there are lots of promotions and that’s what you want,” says Punita.
Middleton Road Stores & Post Office (Premier)
Location: Newark, Lincs
Trading since: October 2013
Hours: 6am-8pm Mon-Fri, 7am-7.30pm Sat, 9am-1pm Sun
Size: 1,000sq ft
Style: A newly-opened store in a residential area, with Nisa and Co-op stores less than half a mile away
Later this year their post office is due to be reinvented as a ‘Main’ branch, with longer opening hours (8.30am-5.30pm) that will pull in more customers.
They will also be able to offer two types of service – a modern, retail-style counter which gives their staff easier access to customers without the barrier of a traditional post office window, and a traditional counter for high-value transactions, which gives staff added security.
In all of this, customer service is key. Punita and Manu appreciate having Sharron Doyle among their staff members. Sharron was there when they took over and her knowledge of the customers is invaluable.
“We’re always asking customers if they want something that we don’t have – and we make sure that we get it in if we can,” said Manu.