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Facebook may be the future for marketing to local shoppers in Sunbury-on-Thames, but it’s important not to lose sight of the basics. Heineken’s Richard Campbell finds some useful ideas for Best-one owner Alkesh Pankhania to implement in store during his visit with the IAA’s Nick Shanagher.
Alkesh is well known in the local community but struggles to communicate his offers online and feels digital marketing is a tool he could make better use of.
1. Ensure your shop front is welcoming and things that you do well stand out in store.
It is a blustery day and leaves are blowing around the otherwise clean forecourt. There is easy parking for shoppers and Alkesh has leaflets on display and several self-standing A-boards in front of the store.
“The shop front is clean but the faded sandwich picture does not tell the story of the size and quality of your food-to-go range, and the coffee sign is lost among so many other A-boards,” says Richard.
“You have to work to make your shop famous for a couple of things and your food-to-go offer could be one of them”he advises.
Richard also suggests Alkesh gets rid of some of the clutter in front of the store and contacts his symbol group and coffee supplier to source better point of sale.
2. Communicate offers that meet the needs of local shoppers through local marketing.
Alkesh wants to be known for his alcohol range which is prominent and follows Heineken’s Star Retailer Scheme, but he is unsure how to attract attention to it. Richard suggests Alkesh be more selective with his wine collars to show off his best bottles and use promotional materials linked to major sports events to encourage additional sales.
Richard asks Alkesh how he communicates offers to meet the needs of his customers. Alkesh says he runs a Best-one loyalty scheme where collecting 1,500 points is worth £5. However, only 40 customers have signed up.
Richard asks Alkesh what he does to incentivise customers to join. Alkesh says he promotes it in store but it’s tucked away and is easily missed. Richard suggests using an incentive could encourage more customers to join, and using well-positioned in-store signage supported by social media to promote it to his customers.
3. Know your customers’ names and actively raise the profile of your business.
Alkesh and his staff wear name tags. They actively greet shoppers even though the tight design of the shop makes eye contact difficult.
“We have built this business around our customers,” says Alkesh, who runs the store with his wife Krishna and five staff. “We have a nice family feel and we know what to stock by asking people what they need.”
Richard Campbell’s IAA visit is interrupted by a customer, Jill, who asks what he is doing. “It’s a great shop,” she says and gives Alkesh a big hug.
Alkesh says he wants to build his Facebook following and Sarah, a member of staff, is keen to get involved. The main issue is there is nothing to advertise it in store. Richard suggests Alkesh gets Sarah to take the lead and have t-shirts printed to promote liking Best-one Green Street’s page.
What we learnt:
“Alkesh is getting a lot right and is clearly known and liked by his customers. He has posters and leaflets to show his offer, a loyalty scheme for customers to earn money back on their purchases, a good range and he is excited about increasing his presence on social media. But he can’t be famous for everything. There is a lot going on in this shop and he needs to pick a few areas where he really wants to focus.” Richard Campbell, Wholesale category development manager, Heineken
“It is great having another set of eyes looking at the shop. Richard’s visit has helped me understand that customers can walk past hot food, for example, and not see it. I’ve also realised there’s more to be done with the front of my store to make it shout about my food-to-go range and I’ve got some great ideas to try with Facebook and my loyalty scheme to make them more successful too. I’m excited to get started!” Alkesh Pankhania, Best-one, Sunbury, Middlesex
Alkesh’s action plan:
Use printed staff t-shirts or in-store signage to promote the shop’s Facebook page.
Get rid of clutter and focus point of sale on food-to-go at the front of the store
Incentivise customers to join the loyalty scheme by offering a free coffee on sign-up.