Thanks to the Royal Wedding last year and the approaching Jubilee long weekend, we have recently witnessed a welcome rise in patriotism and all things British, writes Susan Williams of Vision On.
From window displays and products to staff uniforms and competitions, major stores are often the first to get in on the act, and independent businesses can frequently fall behind.
But joining in with the celebrations needn’t cost the earth or require weeks on end spent planning and sourcing. Simple changes to merchandising, visuals and service can have a huge impact on a store. In fact, UK Point Of Sale’s recent research into window displays found that over 50% of consumers would be more likely to enter a shop if it had a ‘Made in Britain’ themed window.
So, how can convenience stores and independent retailers ensure they are making the most of such special occasions?
First of all, businesses need to think – right product, right place, right time. Ensure you are stocked up on quintessentially British favourites like Cheddar cheese, crackers, pickle, strawberries and sparkling wine, or any other products that may become more popular for a time. If space allows, set up a Jubilee display, and prompt customers to buy items they maybe hadn’t thought to purchase before, but make them want to be part of the celebrations.
Could you also create your own Jubilee hampers? Making up your own allows you to have control over what goes inside and what price to retail them at, depending on your average shopper. Hampers could vary in cost and you could even create one especially for the children.
Make sure your store looks as appealing as possible too. Use your shop front to let passers by know that you have a wide range of products available, so they won’t be tempted to drive to larger stores. If you have new stock in, such as disposable barbeques or picnic blankets, let them know! Change signage and displays to get your message out there and make use of all available lighting and space.
And getting the staff involved doesn’t have to be tacky or gimmicky either. Few of us can resist more-ish fresh strawberries, so why not offer a sample to customers at the checkout? You can then have packs to hand should they decide they’re too tasty to resist. Try to think of other point-of-sale products you can use to help increase the average transaction value.
Don’t forget that because of the extra bank holiday, many supermarkets are likely to have shorter opening hours, so clearly detail your bank holiday trading hours behind the counter and on the door. Can you expect an increase in milk and bread sales?
Finally, don’t be afraid to use social media, such as Twitter and Facebook. It’s a fantastic and FREE way to reach out to people in your local area and let them know about your deals and offers.
These simple ideas can make a much needed boost to sales, add customer loyalty and act as a talking point in store, making it easier to build relationships with customers as well as build community spirit. And that’s something we can all benefit from.
Susan Williams is director of Vision On, an award-winning retail skills consultancy working in the field of town centre regeneration