At this year’s Local Shop Summit I was given the opportunity to talk about some of the lessons I have learnt from my 50-year career in and around retailing. The biggest lesson that I did not cover is that the best ideas gain much more value by being shared.
During one of the summit networking sessions Aman Uppal, who runs One Stop Mount Nod with his brother Joga, introduced himself saying that he is a regular visitor to betterRetailing.com and had read that I occasionally visit Coventry. He invited me to visit his store when I was next in the area.
Nine days later I was in the brothers’ One Stop store and was given a tour. While walking around the store it was clear that Aman and Joga have great enthusiasm for community retailing and want to take their store as far as they possibly can.
On this visit I shared three ideas:
1. Keep the store presentation sharp.
I told them that Waitrose has a twice-daily store recovery process, in the afternoon and early evening, to face-up every shelf and face-forward every product. Joga responded that they should do that, and that they would need to train their staff to meet the high standard required, to deliver a sharper store for their customers.
2. Local products need to be shouted about.
This lets customers know where they are from, and their heritage. The launch of this year’s Independent Achievers Academy was held at Warner’s Budgens in Moreton-in-Marsh. During the store tour that was part of the event, I noticed that all of the dozens of local products in the store had a shelf barker. Each shelf barker had a photograph of the producer and the distance from the store of where it is grown or produced. If you stock local products shout about them.
3. Get out of your store and go and meet other storeowners and managers.
When Aman and Joga spoke about their local competition they said that a Co-op store was their nearest, around a quarter of a mile from their store, but they haven’t met the manager. While both stores are in the convenience market, and as they share some of the catchment area, they have the same challenges. These include the same shoplifters, the same regulatory issues, the same local authority and the same supermarket competitors. Making contact with other retailers who have the same issues can only be positive. So go and offer your hand in friendship. As I said at the Local Shop Summit, don’t do you retailing in isolation.