From newspapers to the National Lottery, certain services provided by retailers are vital for attracting footfall. Eight retailers tell Alex Yau how they have made them a success in their stores
My footfall hero Lottery
Eugene Diamond, Diamond’s Newsagents, Ballymena
The National Lottery and scratchcards are important products because there are customers who come to my shop just for them. They’re then surprised when they realise we also sell liquorice, brandy toffee and similar specialist sweets widely available decades ago. The novelty factor alone is enough to encourage them to add up to £1 on top of their lottery spend. The nearby Co-op sells lottery tickets, but I’ve remained popular by actively marketing the products well. From the shop window and the till to social media posts on Twitter, I let potential customers know about previous winners who have won anything from £100 to £1,000.
Latest news: Camelot has launched a new Site, Stock, Sell initiative to improve store standards and reward retailers.
My footfall hero Payment services
Ken Singh, Love Lane Stores, Pontefract
My sales would drop by 10% without PayPoint. I had my own EPoS 10 years ago, which was slow compared to PayPoint. My shop is near a council estate and houses, and my most popular service is utility top-ups. I’m lucky there’s no immediate competition nearby and customers otherwise have to travel two miles into Pontefract town centre for similar services. Siting promotions near the PayPoint system is key to attracting repeat customers. Someone might come in with the sole purpose of topping up their utilities and then leave straight away. However, they’ll have noticed the offers displayed and may return.
Latest news: PayPoint continues to roll out its PayPoint One and PayPoint One EPoS Pro systems.
My footfall hero Parcel services
Peter Wagg, News on the Wharf, London
The security in the banks and corporate buildings around Canary Wharf, where my five shops are based, prevents office workers from having parcels delivered into their workplace. I’ve been using Pass My Parcel since Smiths News launched it in 2014 and it’s really helped me become a designated parcel collection point for office workers and nearby residents. Thousands of parcels are delivered to my stores every month. I’ve made Pass My Parcel a success in my store by developing the services around it. I take preorders by email for magazines and confectionery from those who have parcels delivered to my shops.
Latest news: Experts are predicting an increase in parcel deliveries 24 hours a day as the range of services available for customers continues to grow.
My footfall hero Newspapers
Mike Nicholls, Costcutter, York
Newspapers are still an important part of my business because weekly sales average more than £2,500. We’ve got an older demographic who come in the mornings to pick up their newspapers for work or to read at home. Younger people tend not to buy so many papers but I place newspapers around the shop by snacks and the food to go area. We get a lot of young workmen who come in for their lunches. Placing newspapers right by our food to go encourages them to buy a newspaper because they’ll have something to read and pass the time during their breaks.
Latest news: Publishers are encouraging retailers to increase newspaper sales by expanding the industry’s Deliver My Newspaper HND initiative.
My footfall hero Food to go
Paul Stone, Spar Oxford Road, Manchester
Coffee has become a vital product for me because yearly footfall has dropped by 7% since EUTPD and plain packaging came in. I started serving my own branded coffee in 2012 called Cheeky Coffee. I used to have a Costa Coffee machine but I found them quite restrictive. Now I can choose which machines I use, take full control over advertising and branding on social media and store windows. I can also control my own costs. An Americano, which is one of the most popular drinks, costs £1.90. This helps me stand out from the nearby Starbucks because I’m undercutting them.
Latest news: According to IGD figures, food to go is predicted to be worth £23.5bn by 2022.
My footfall hero Post Office
Vince Malone, Tenby Post Office & Premier Stores, Pembrokeshire
I have a post office alongside my Premier and travel services are the most popular. I’m lucky a lot of the banks nearby have closed down. The store is based near the seaside, which means those on holiday come to my store to exchange their foreign currency into pounds. I then use this opportunity to inform customers they can get toiletries, drinks and other holiday essentials from my Premier shop. Since I combined both the post office and the shop together four years ago, business has increased. My Premier is 40% busier, while business for my foreign currency exchange has grown three-fold.
Latest news: The Post Office is further replacing bank services, offering customers a range of mortgages.
My footfall hero Soft drinks
Raj Aggarwal, Spar Hackenthorpe, Sheffield
Soft drinks are a huge footfall driver for me and the category makes up 10% of my overall sales during the winter months. This can increase to 15% during summer, however, and one of the most popular brands among customers is Lucozade. I’m changing my range to comply with the sugar levy. The legislation has raised awareness of sugar content and demand for drinks that comply with the tax has increased. I’m grouping zero-to-low sugar soft drinks together and the effort from suppliers to reformulate their products has really helped ease this process.
Latest news: Get ready for a typical 13% uplift in soft drinks sales from May to September, resulting in £1,500 of additional sales on average.
My footfall hero Sticker books
Paul Patel, Dibden Purlieu News, Southampton
I have schools near the shop, which provide a good customer base for sticker books. The Match Attack products are the most popular and I find sales of books and packs increases by 20% in the run up to a major event like a World Cup or European football tournament.
An essential sales technique I make use of is positioning them at the eyeline level of parents near other products. Parents are already in the shop and it’s just more convenient for them to increase their basket with a snack or drink here rather than make a repeat trip or go elsewhere.
Latest news: Panini’s sticker book for the Russia World Cup is out now. Each starter pack contains at least 31 stickers to get collectors going.