Steve Denham reflects on how incorporating a post office into his store increased footfall significantly

When I took on the role of sub postmaster a few years ago I set out with the goal of securing this important service in my community. Under its previous owners the business had been in decline for a number of years, so I didn’t set too high an expectation for its success under my management. How wrong I was.

My wife and I did some relatively simple things to improve our success.

Get the Post Office counter right with a screen-less counter. Having the Post Office as an extension of the shop counter allows for flexible staffing. We trained the shop team to serve on the Post Office counter, which brought better efficiency to the business, more satisfaction for our employees and shorter queues for our customers.

We also talked to our customers to discover what they wanted from their Post Office.

I knew most of our customers love their local Post Office, but they didn’t like the length of time they had to wait in the queue, so my highest priority was to improve the service. They also told me which of the Post Office services they liked to use most.

I focused on the key services our customers asked for:

  • Mail

    eBay and Amazon sellers are a valuable community. Making your Post Office easy to use means that they will be repeat visitors to your store.

  • Special Delivery

    Always ask what the customer is sending, and its value – this opens up the opportunity to upsell the better paying service and gives the customer the right posting method for their needs.

  • Banking (and pensions)

    I loved the move from Pension and Benefit books to bank accounts 10 years ago, as it meant that customers were no long restricted to one payment a week. Many of our customers kept on using the Post Office for cash and came in several times each week to withdraw their cash not just their State Pension.

  • Bill Payment

    I found many people liked to pay their bills promptly and by cash. It may no longer pay quite as well as it used to, but on the Post Office it certainly brought valuable customers to my store.

  • Foreign Currency, particularly Euros

    This was the cherry on top of the cake. There was no month of the year that some of my customers were not travelling.

“Having a Post Office in my business is impossible to put a value on. It brings so many benefits to our store, but the key is that it makes us the hub of our community.” – Paul MatherWith these elements in place having a sub Post Office proved a remarkable footfall driver and a rewarding addition to our business. When I caught up with Paul Mather the other day, he had a similar experience to me.

Are you thinking of getting a post office in your store? If so, visit www.runapostoffice.co.uk for more information.