The Local Shop Summit was a brilliant event held at Lords, the home of cricket. The event was attended by more than 130 retailers, all of whom came away with many great ideas to improve their stores.

Here are the four lessons from the day that stood out for me.

Leverage all the opportunities that your neighbourhood offers

All four of the keynote speakers – Chris Brown, Peter Lamb, Chris Shelley and Vrinder Singh – made doing this the foundation of their stories. Peter Lamb said that he viewed the busy road his store is sited by as a ‘river of cash’, with 700,000 vehicles going by every year. He finds ways to make these people stop and use the store.

lambs larder
Lambs Larder forecourt signage

Use social media

Greg Deacon said that the Local Shop Report indicates that only 20% of independent retailers use Facebook. Sheffield retailer Vrinder Singh told the story of how he and his two brothers have grown engagement on their Facebook page to over 11,500 people. He added that because of this, sales across their three stores have risen by more than 15%.

delegates

Ensure that you are in business to make a profit

Coffee shop owner Chris Brown said that the average convenience store has a gross profit margin of around 20%, while the coffee shop GP is around 70%. Peter Lamb said his gross profit is 40% as he doesn’t deal in low margins. He said he sets his tobacco prices to be “the same as Sainsbury’s plus 10%”, and this delivers him 14% on the category. He told the audience not to be embarrassed by charging a price that gives them a comfortable profit.

Chris Brown
Chris Brown speaking on ’11 Great Things To Learn From The UK’s Best Coffee Shops’

Go to events that other positive retailers go to

Talk to these people about how they, and you, operate your business. The Local Shop Summit brought together retailers from across the country and I am sure that they will all have returned to their store with a fresh set of ideas to implement.

Retailer Arun Patel of AC Foods said: “After hearing Chris Brown talk about his 70% GP, all the other great ideas I picked up during the day were a bonus.”