The store that my wife and I run in Castle Cary is a business that has a heritage as a grocer. We do sell alcohol and confectionery, but don’t stock greetings cards. Our seasonal sales from Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter have to be made without what for many newsagents and convenience stores is the lead product category.

In order to achieve success and fight off strong competition from the multiples we stick to a comprehensive check list which is as follows:

  • GOOD USE OF PoS – Window displays, whether provided by suppliers or made ourselves, are key in attracting customers and reinforcing in-store merchandising.
  • RANGE – Selling a wide range at a variety of price points ensures we stand out from supermarkets that are able to sell standard shell eggs for as little as 98p each. We stock eggs from suppliers including Londis, Lindt, the House of Sarunds and smaller suppliers like James Chocolates and House of Dorchester
  • USING EPoS – Last year’s EPoS data is used to set a cost budget for each supplier for this year
  • GO THE EXTRA MILE – We always stock things like non-dairy products, cardboard eggs and plush toys to cater for people with food allergies and intolerances
  • BE ORGANISED – Organise deliveries for the majority of the stock to arrive early in March. This is good for cash flow as the majority of the stock will be sold before the invoice is due.
  • GET THE PRICE RIGHT – Price label every item as it arrives, using a simplified pricing structure.  We price products at 25p, 49p, 75p and 99p which reduces the number of time staff take to change the numbers on our price gun. Our strategy of pricing every produce comes it to its own in the last few days before Easter, as there is no possibility of getting shelf edge labels in the wrong place.

easterOf course Easter is not just about chocolate eggs for retailers. During the penultimate week before Easter we need to get the rest of the store ready for the expected increase in customer numbers and spend overall. So we have a couple more points for our checklist:

  • Order extra stock, not just in confectionery
  • Ensure staffing levels are high, to both to serve customers and to keep the store looking great. Easter is as an opportunity to showcase our store to new customers who we then will aim to retain.
  • Do not reduce prices; although eggs lose much of their value immediately after Easter it is a mistake take ‘correcting’ action too soon. The vast majority of Easter eggs sell in the final three days so with £1000’s worth of stock ‘sitting’ on our shelves I need to understand how sales are performing compared to previous years. With our EPoS data I check progress on a daily basis and take any required actions on an informed basis

At the end of the season we undertake a stock check to ensure that the EPoS data is accurate and so that we have a record of lines that have sold out and the other that we need to sharply cut price to sell through quickly.  If all goes according to plan we will have taken over £10,000 from our Easter egg range and have enhanced our reputation for being the destination store for people that are looking for something different!