Two top retailers addressed the Local Shop Summit, telling delegates how they had overcome a challenging market and become future-fit store owners in the past 12 months

In-Store case study: Mo Razzaq’s data journey

Mo Razzaq speaking a the Local Shop SummitFamily Shopper retailer Mo Razzaq has been an award-winning shop owner for decades, but this isn’t stopping him questioning the model that has given him so many years of success. 

“I realised my business was shopper-friendly but not shopper-centric,” he told the LSS audience. With the likes of Uber, Amazon and Britain’s biggest supermarkets all working hard to tailor their shoppers’ experiences to their own needs, it’s obvious convenience stores have a battle on if they’re going to remain the most personalised and personable retail channel. Yet, the question has always been: how can retailers compete with such big-budget rivals? Mo’s presentation answered this question.

Family Shopper Blantyre offers a range of incentivised deals which reward loyalty and engagement. At first sight, a poster on the wall offering three-for-£1 confectionery may seem similar to that in many stores. Yet in Mo’s, customers use a QR code to access it. A loyalty card system that provides an exclusive set of deals, meanwhile, has seen basket spend for some targeted customers rise above £16. All of these elements are connected to a single strategy, which allows the store to operate seamlessly with the technological opportunities now available.  

At the heart of his system is data and software called Darius, which helps him to better understand his sales and those happening nationally. As a local business, it’s important to maintain a link between him and his businesses: “Being connected starts with your own data – not Amazon’s, not bought in, not generic.” 

Darius has already provided double-digit growth to high street brands including Topshop, but is increasingly focusing on the opportunity presented by convenience retail. 

In-store case study Ferhan Ashiq’s food-to-go strategy

Ferhan-Ashiq.jpgWith 25% of all of East Lothian traffic travelling on the road outside his store, Ferhan Ashiq wanted to transform his Levenhall Village Store, in Musselburgh, into a business passing drivers would want to take a break at. With just 568sq ft of shopfloor to work with, Ferhan had to find innovative ways to provide the high standard of food to go his customers wanted.  

“I knew I had to do something different, so I hired a local butcher, bought a fryer that makes chips in just over two minutes and started serving milkshakes. Shoppers just have to pick the chocolate bar they want, and I can turn it into a milkshake for them,” he said.

But these ideas weren’t Ferhan’s attempt at reinventing the wheel, it was about taking what he had learned from other retailers and trade shows, and finding a way to implement it in his store. 

“It’s important to have a network of like-minded retailers you can bounce ideas off,” he told the audience. 

After the success of his Levenhall store, Ferhan took it upon himself to turn back to his family’s original Prestonpans store, less than a mile away, to have it refurbished. “Sales had been declining since 2014, and I knew the biggest problem was the lack of a food-to-go offering. With a bigger store, people expect a better and larger range,” he said. 

So, to pump some life back into the store, Ferhan took what he learned from the Levenhall store and installed a deli counter, an ice-cream bar and a crepe machine, to name a few. 

To promote this, Ferhan teamed up with a company to install a screen in-store showcasing adverts, and since the launch, sales of food to go have increased by 13%.