Get your offer right and you can make morning the most profitable time of day in your store. Hampshire retailers Julian and Jackie Taylor-Green invited Dave Songer to their store to reveal six ways they secure sales in the early hours

Know what your morning shoppers want

“We have a good variety of shoppers, from builders and delivery drivers who buy newspapers, isotonic drinks, breakfast and coffee, to pensioners who might just pop in for a paper – most of which are sold between 6.30am and 11.00am,” says Julian.

“Increasingly, people come in for frothy coffees from our machine because they know they can get something in our store they can’t replicate at home. It increases the chance of them buying something else while they’re here, and we’ll sell anything from 20-40 cups, depending on the weather.

“Our HND service is worthwhile for the same reason. Besides the revenue it brings in, it also means people come into our store to settle their bills.”

Design a sales-driving layout

“We’ve recently had a refit, which utilises Spar’s Daily Deli model. It gets customers to pass products that are popular in the morning, such as cold drinks, snacks and hot food,” says Julian.

“Shopping habits are changing and people nowadays don’t buy enough in supermarkets to last seven days. They want to top up and we’re here to offer that, but it’s vital we communicate the perception of value and promote our fresh feel across the store.”

Make your morning products unmissable

“We’re capitalising on impulse purchases and installing a newspaper stand that features a Red Bull cabinet within it,” says Julian. “It works because they’re particularly popular with our grab-and-go customers who like to pick up two or three cans with their paper before they go to work.

“We moved the hot food unit close to the tills for the same reason. Hot food is a big seller and our unit contains freshly-made hot rolls and breakfast turnovers to sausage rolls and burgers, which are strangely quite popular early in the morning. Since moving the hot chiller unit we often sell double the number of sausage rolls.”

Get the word out

“We’ve tried to get our message across by leafleting at the local building site – where 5,000 homes are due to be built – and we also use social media; sending tweets and posting on Facebook,” says Julian.

“Promotion extends to the store, too, and we aim to get across to people that they can come in any time and get something they want. The hot food unit may be stocked, but if someone asks for something else we’re flexible enough to do that for them – that will drive up basket spend and tempt people back.”

Be better than the multiples

“We’re more reactive and don’t have cut-off times for our food, so if someone wants a burger at six in the morning we can do it. We’re more personable as well; it’s far easier for the staff to talk to customers and actually give them what they want, irrespective of the time of day,” says Julian.

“However, we do also take inspiration from the multiples. We’re looking to introduce meal deals that will tell customers what they need to know and what’s available quickly. The model I like is: have a burger on its own, or potato wedges, or you can have a bacon bap, wedges, and a drink combined. It’s concise and easy to follow.”

Get suppliers on board

“Talk to your symbol group or wholesaler – they’ll be able to help and start you on your journey. In terms of food, talk to companies that have display equipment. Country Choice provided us with our hot dog machine,” says Julian.