Rishi Madhani invited Mondelez International trade communications manager Susan Nash to spend the day at his Today’s Local in Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire, in order for her to experience what’s involved and gain a deeper understanding of the sector. “It’s really good to get a retailer’s insight and understand the complexities of the decisions they make,” says Susan. “As a manufacturer we have a responsibility to help retailers.” Rishi is equally enthused: “When we have a representative of the calibre of Mondelez, it means that we as independent retailers are being taken seriously.”
Facing up the chiller
The first area that Susan gets to work on is facing up the impulse soft drinks and milk. “Essential items such as this are fast-moving, so we constantly need to check their availability, bring items forward and ensure that the area looks tidy,” says Rishi.
Within the chilled section, Susan is pleased to see that Rishi stocks five different varieties of Mondelez International’s Philadelphia soft cheese. But because packs are stacked on top of one another, it isn’t easy to see the different flavours. Susan front-faces the tubs in order to give them better visibility and to make it easier for customers to shop the section.
Managing hot drinks
As she tidies up the hot drinks fixture, Susan is full of praise for the store’s strong range. Rishi already sells jars of Cadbury’s Wispa hot chocolate, so Susan suggests that he also tries the sachets. And when it comes to coffee, Susan recommends he stocks Kenco Millicano refills. She explains that it takes 12 weeks for people to run out of coffee, so they need a longer trial period than you would normally give a new product. “People who buy coffee in c-stores tend to have a bigger basket than the average shopper, so if you have what they need they will spend,” she adds.
Rishi shows Susan how he has to check orders thoroughly as sometimes staff order products when there is already a caseload in the stockroom. “The order for Thursday is greater than the one for Monday because there are fewer customers at the weekend, but the basket spend is higher,” says Rishi. He checks the Met Office weather app and the BBC website so that he can tailor the order accordingly. “It also depends on what’s going on in the local area – for example, if we have a Christmas fair then we’ll sell more chocolate, cakes and hot drinks, so we need to be prepared.”
Rishi and Susan discuss the store’s confectionery fixture and she shows him Cadbury’s Delicious Display planogram guidance. The store already has a strong confectionery range, although Susan thinks it will benefit from double-facing on some of the more popular items. “The fact that you are sold out of Twirl tells me you should be double-facing it,” she says. She ensures that all the hanging bags are faced up and uses the hand-held epos terminal to ensure that they have good stock availability. “Rishi is really making the most of the pricemarked bags to promote a value message,” she observes.
Tidying the shop front
Susan checks that the flowers have enough water and arranges them in their stand so that the display looks full. Rishi explains that flowers make the store look welcoming. “It also reminds people that you sell them and it can bring in extra customers,” notes Susan. She sweeps away the leaves from the store front and makes sure the store entrance is clean and tidy.
Behind the till
Susan quickly gets to grips with Rishi’s system. Supervisor Liam Chandler is on hand to show her the ropes, and she is careful to maintain the store’s high level of customer service.