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In Part 2 of our Retail Workshop series, Mondelez International, Coca-Cola European Partners and betterRetailing.com teamed up with Retail Express and eight independent retailers to discuss core ranges, local community and how to drive healthier products.
Read Part 1 on innovation, technology and seasonal sales here.
4 tips for using core ranging effectively
1: Review your range regularly
Susan recommends continuously reviewing core ranging. “Space in your store has to be justified, so it needs much tighter management,” she says.
Dee Sedani adds: “The face of retail is changing every day. The biggest thing is to review your ranging more than you’ve ever done before. You don’t need five tins of baked beans. We’ve got to think smarter and be one step ahead.” Use trade press, your supplier reps and your symbol group or wholesaler to review it.
2: Utilise strong brands
When you are deciding on what core products you should be stocking, strong brands play a key role, says Philip. “That’s what brings the people in,” he says. Momoe explains: “People expect you to have core products in every category and expect you to have the top brands always available.”
3: Consider which emerging categories have become core for your store and adapt
Independent retailing isn’t just about a handful of categories anymore. “While some categories, like news and greeting cards, are becoming less important for some stores, categories such as fruit & vegetables, food on the go and meal solutions are emerging,” says Susan. Dee adds: “We’ve got to adapt quicker to these areas in our stores.”
4: Make sure ‘core’ goes further than just ranging
Attention to detail, display and range have become core principles of convenience retailing, says Susan. Consider whether services, such as parcel collection, could be a core part of your business.
“Seasonal products are becoming core, where perhaps 10 years ago we wouldn’t have considered them core for convenience retailers to do,” she adds.
4 ways to get involved in your local community
1: Hire in your own image
“We’ve have someone that has worked in our post office for 30 years and between us we have learnt exactly how certain customers want their money,” says Chris Tomes of Costcutter & The Food Shop in Swanage. “We also took one of the local butchers in house and made sure our customers knew that it was the same face and same products.”
2: Identify the local star
“The best way to start involving yourself in the community is to identify the local socialite,” says Amrit. “If you want to get more people on board, then you need to influence the person that the community follows and the person who knows what matters.” Chris adds that it’s even more effective if you can become that person.
3: Set the scene for your community
By changing your store to match the seasons, you can help become the centre of the community. “If you’re engaging the community on different levels, like giving out rock salt to the elderly in winter, frosting the windows of your shop and running a grotto for the children, then you can be the one that signals the change for the local community,” says Stef.
4: Find out what matters
“What matters most to my community is supporting the Royal British Legion,” says Amrit. “I’d tried previous charities and got very little interest, but when I backed this one I had a massive response on social media because this is what mattered to them.”
5 tips to drive healthier products
1: Keep your ears to the ground
Dee advises that retailers shouldn’t be concerned if health trends haven’t reached their area yet, but should keep a look out for changing demands in 2018. “The big thing to consider with health ranges is the location. Different demographics have different demands and some areas still seem to be playing catch-up on health trends,” he says.
2: Make more from alcohol-free drinks
Raj says he had seen alcohol-free drinks sales increase last year and tipped the lines as increasingly important in 2018. “While the sales aren’t huge, it is now beginning to have traction,” he adds.
3: Challenge customer expectations
With confectionery, tobacco and alcohol as historic key ranges in many local shops, retailers have work to do if they want to be seen as a place to go for health foods. “Consumers don’t associate independent convenience stores with health products,” says Dee. “It’s vital as an industry we change this and it starts with making sure health products are clearly visible on our shelves.”
4: Seek out fresh food suppliers
Retailers who previously decided against expanding their fresh ranging due to a lack of wholesaler support should reconsider, says Premier retailer Matthew Lowry. “We’ve sold more fresh fruit and vegetables in the past year than ever before. Wholesalers improving their quality and ranging has allowed us to expand our range.”
5: Look at the bigger health picture
Amy says that health means different things to different people, so stores need to cater for a range of demands. She explains: “It’s important to remember that health isn’t just about calories, it’s also wider lifestyle choices, so stock gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan, organic and alcohol-free products.”
Chris: We use EPoS, but I’m not convinced I’m using it to its full potential to give my shoppers a personal service.
Amrit: This is the first retailer event I’ve been to and I’m taking a lot away. As well as learning that EasyJet makes coffee, I’m taking away the idea of having special events once a week to get shoppers to share what they are doing on social media.
Dee: It’s great to see younger retailers coming through with passion and drive. Giving away rock salt in the winter is a brilliant idea.
Momoe: I need to analyse the shop more and critically look at the products that I have and use my EPoS more effectively.
Matthew: Heat mapping is a great idea and I’m keen to introduce it in my store.
Shaelender: You have to keep up with changes and trends otherwise your business will suffer.
Philip: I really need to research how the soft drinks tax is going to affect us more and plan how I will turn it into an opportunity.
Raj: I’m very interested in Bitcoin. Retailers need to be one step ahead and if we can help each other then it goes a long way.
Susan: You should make sure that your store stands out, learn from the competition and consider what they are not doing. Make your shop your own.
Amy: It’s clear that retailers need more information about the soft drinks tax. We will help retailers learn what it means for them.
Stefan: The multiples might get there first in a lot of cases, and that’s not going to change, but retailers can use the knowledge from those stores and then do it better.
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