How we lay out our family owned shop in Coventry is a critical factor in its success. But the layout is not set in stone, it’s reactive. Every three months we analyse sales and profit performance across every bay. With the help of the Head of Development of Costcutters, our chosen supply chain partner, we take the sales and profit data from our scanning system and crunch the numbers on a spreadsheet specifically designed for our store profile.
We have been analysing our sales and profit for many years and can quickly spot quarterly trends and changes. For instance:
- Recently we noticed an 18% decline in cake sales from the previous period.
- Looking back at what we had changed we could see that we had moved cakes one bay away from our bread display.
- Since moving the cakes back to their former position we have seen an immediate pick up in sales.
Using sales data to drive change is our key to ensuring that we maximise our potential. But we also know that we don’t have all the answers and we have developed strong relationships with not just Costcutters, but manufacturers and other retailers. I am involved with the Association of Convenience Stores and through them I have been able grow my network of useful contacts around our industry. Recently Molson Coors helped us with a display cube for Cobra beer. Promotions such as these at the front of our store help to add excitement right at the start of a customers visit.
We also make sure to think about why customers are visiting our shop. If it’s for a meal we help them by having related products displayed near each other. Last year I saw that a Budgen’s store had a tower unit displaying wines in their dairy aisle and ordered one for our shop. This has added regular impulse sales that we boost further with regular two for £10 wine offers.
Something we have placed near the green grocery display is a stack of baskets to make it easier for customer to carry unexpected purchases. These baskets are standard size convenience store baskets; we have jumbo and wheeled baskets at the entrance. Customers may think that this extra stack is driven by us being extra thoughtful, but we keep a tally of the smaller baskets to help us know how many customers buy more than they had planned.
Many of the ideas we have implemented are borrowed from other retailers. If an idea looks good we will try it!
Regularly taking time out of our store gives us an edge that all too many independent shopkeepers miss out on. When you are only looking at your own ideas that is all you will see! This year is going to be a challenge as the economy continues it’s recovery. It’s not just independent retailers that are affected – we recently invited a Sainsbury’s employee to come and talk to our staff. I think that what he had to say was quite an eye opener for them.
My advice is look, listen and learn from others (good or bad) and borrow the best ideas to implement in your own business.