Whenever I speak to friends about my work, one thing I say I enjoy most is spending time with passionate, entrepreneurial retailers who love swapping business ideas.

On Monday morning, I chaired a roundtable discussion between retailers and senior executives from Santa Fe. We were discussing tobacco legislation and how to prepare for it, but I still came away with a pad full of ideas.

Jay Patel from Budgens in Crofton Park says he spies on his competitors’ ranges to look for new sales opportunities. He now makes a special trip to Dhamecha for Natural American Spirit and sells 20-30 outers a week.

There are dozens more ideas in this issue, including 39 from the 2015 IAA champions

Atul Sodha from Londis in Harefield encouraged a new 18-year-old employee to listen to customers, ask questions and talk to them about what they are buying. The employee’s mother saw such a change in her son’s attitude that she came to the shop to praise Atul’s approach. Atul got the idea of putting A4 printouts promoting lottery jackpots in baskets from a retailer WhatsApp group and saw an immediate uplift.

Serge Khunkhun from Premier Woodcross said saying hello to the second or third customer in a queue re-sets their mental clock and makes them more likely to keep queueing.

Over lunch, we discussed the economics of putting doors on chillers, how it impacts shoppers and the innovative ways stores recycle heat from chillers and water from air conditioning units.

There are dozens more ideas in this issue, including 39 from the 2015 IAA champions on some of the great changes they’ve made this year and why they won. Please copy the best ones in your own business and keep sharing your ideas too.

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