A recent refit with a focus on the best shop layout has enabled Today’s Extra Fiveways to appeal to customers while improving its security. Chris Dillon finds out how
Located on the intersection of five roads between Grimsby and Cleethorpes, the team at Today’s Extra Fiveways has focused on their shop layout in the past year to make sure they are catering for every type of shopper who walks through their door.
“We spent a lot of time thinking about our layout. Not just about how our customers would shop the space, but also about security and how light and welcoming it would be,” says the store’s retail advisor, John Heagney.
“It’s crucially important to have that layout right because customers will enjoy the environment and come back.”
The shop used to be 1,200sq ft, but more than doubled in size after a sideways extension. It now boasts a Subway, Post Office Local and Costa Coffee, and has parking spaces at the front to appeal to the shop’s transient customers.
“We pride ourselves on the products we sell, the services we provide and customer service,” he says.
By looking at the reasons their shoppers are visiting them, the team identified that they needed to make sure grocery and chilled were more prominent.
“The changes to our chilled section are what keep regular customers coming back. We’ve designed the store we so we can build on the area and we have the room to expand the layout if we want to,” John says.
Retailers should think hard about the flow of their store. Ask where the potential bottlenecks could be and plan for their busiest times john heagney
They have also grouped items that children would buy together, such as confectionery, and moved them to the front of the shop. “This was done partly for security purposes and partly to make it easy for them so they don’t have to explore every aisle,” John explains.
The impact of crime is also a significant reason why the shop’s layout changed last year. “We designed the shop so that it’s visible to the staff from all angles and the high-value alcohol section is also towards the back for security reasons.
“There are still shoplifters, but the store has invested a lot in CCTV, which has really sharp imaging and covers every part of the shop,” he explains.
The new space not only allows staff to keep an eye on these high-value areas, but it has also allowed customers to see everything that is on offer easier.
“We have created a space that shoppers can easily look around. The Subway counter can be seen from the front, and the tills and post office are close to each other, which makes it easier for staff
during busy times,” he says.
Rather than just one refit, John sees maintaining a winning layout to Today’s Extra Fiveways as a continuous process. “They’re always looking to add something or change it. We encourage staff to go out and look at other shops and the multiples, and to take ownership of the shop so we get loads of feedback from them about what can be done better,” he says.
It’s a formula that works – last year, after benchmarking the store with the Independent Achievers Academy (IAA) for the first time, the shop became a finalist in the Shop Layout category. “We are proud of the store, and the team who have developed it are proud of it, too,” he says.
“The process made us walk around the store and think about best practice, and that can only be better for the whole sector. The IAA is open to all and very valuable to know where you sit in relation to other retailers.”
By focusing on layout, John and the team have put the business in a great place for success this year, introducing a layout that can be adapted to take advantage of any trends or growth areas.
“Retailers should think hard about the flow of their store. Ask where the potential bottlenecks could be and plan for their busiest times,” he says.
“Be prepared to tweak it all the time, once you have great building blocks in place, then you can concentrate on maintaining your store’s high standards.”