I have been out of my store more than usual over the past couple of months. When I returned to my business everyday I found that I was getting annoyed each morning when I came through the front door. It took me a few days to work out what was annoying me, the front of the store looked cluttered and was giving a poor first impression of the store.

The first bay end visible to customers was a wide stand from Healthy Living Scotland that displays fruit and vegetables, but as the store is only has 100 square metres all the space needs to work. I was able to source a smaller stand from Healthy Living and placed this counter. This displays bananas, apples, oranges and other fruit that are sold singly and the smaller display has not reduced sales. I have also made a new “Market Garden” style display for potatoes and other vegetables.

mo2Making these changes has dealt with the issues that was annoying me and has made me reevaluate our Bake Off range. I started taking a look at how to make this more profitable last Autumn when I started to turn unsold baguettes into “pizza baguettes”. Following on from sorting out the front of store issue I took a critical review of how the sales and profit of our Bake Off range was performing. It showed that while overall sales were OK too much of the display was being devoted to under-performing products.

I made the decision that our range should focus on the top sellers and that the suppliers display stand had to go. I replaced this with a “Food To Go” bay and brought in a coffee machine to compliment this. With shop filled baguettes and salads I have seen a doubling in sales in the past two weeks, a really surprising result!

Not satisfied to stop at just these improvements I took a look at our milk sales that had been slowing recently. With a little research I discovered that our price had become ‘expensive’ compared to the local market. To rectify this I reduced the price of our 2lt poly bottles by 10p and promoted this with a price sticker on every bottle. Price corrected, our sales of milk are back on track.

I have also gone further by increasing the range by adding the Robert Wiseman’s Future Milk as well as Skimmed and Organic. I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of these that we are selling. It just goes to show that we should not make unfounded judgements as to what our customers want to buy!

It’s only a couple of weeks since these changes and I can already see that they are adding sales. May be I should get annoyed more often!