Quick-thinking independent retailers are going the extra mile to drive sales amid the freezing weather conditions affecting most of the UK.
Sheffield-based Premier retailer Mandeep Singh has enjoyed a massive sales boost, with customers stocking up on the likes of milk, bread, salt, hot chocolate, and cream. The store is also producing double the amount of hot food to go to keep up with demand.
Mandeep has also used social media to great effect to promote core lines in store. He promoted the store’s milk and bread availability on Facebook (see photo) with an invitation to ‘like and share’ the post to win a cash prize. In just a few hours the post had been shared 84 times.
He has also been working hard on maintaining availability. “We’re getting out to cash and carries as much as possible, otherwise we’d have run out of stock. But Booker deliveries have been really good too,” Mandeep said.
“It’s a great time to encourage loyalty. We’ve been delivering to customers who’ve had problems getting here. Ninety odd schools have shut in Sheffield so there’s a lot of extra demand.”
Dike & Sons, an independent retailer in Stalbridge, Dorset, has seen an uplift in its home delivery service and has made the most of its snow plough-equipped quad bike.
“We’ve had new customers who have never used our home delivery service before, so that’s been very positive. We also have a quad with a snow plough so we’ve been able to make deliveries on that and it’s been able to clear the car park so customers can easily get into the store,” said company manager Adam Vincent.
“The snow started to come in earlier this week but we are now under a red alert for bad weather. Our sales were up about 15% at the beginning of the week and they are now up about 20%.
“It’s been very good for trade. We’ve been working with our suppliers to get more stock into the store and baking then freezing our bread to keep up with demand. I think times like these benefit small retailer, especially independents, as customers can trust that they can get the items that they need.
“We’ve sold double the amount of bread as usual and lots of people have been coming in for milk as well. We haven’t had snow like this for seven years and I think we deserve this increase in trade. It makes me both sad and happy to see the supermarkets with empty shelves. We try and get as many products out on the shelves as we possibly can.”
Jerry Tweney, owner of Budgens Prestbury Village Stores in Cheltenham, added: “Snow is possibly the best marketing for any c-store retailer. It’s free and it’s a great way to get new customers into the store who would never normally come in.
“January and February have been terrific for us. Hopefully the flurries have earned us a few new customers for the months ahead.”
Fabio Finocchiaro, manager of Rootes Grocery Store, Warwick University, said: “Footfall has been affected by the snow and some staff haven’t been able to get into work, but our food-to-go range is still really popular.
“We’ve put a greater focus on our hot food as most people are looking for that instead of sandwiches. Our sausage rolls, burgers and ready meals have all been selling very well.
”However, bread has been an issue. We didn’t get a big enough order and had two deliveries cancelled from the North. Instead, we’ve been trying to push the non-food items like de-icer. We’ve moved the whole stand to the front of the store so shoppers can pick them up as they go along.”