Innovation has always been high priority for us, but since winning the top prize at this year’s Convenience Retail Awards things have definitely accelerated.
There’s no doubt that the win has raised awareness of the McLeish store brand among shoppers, but also suppliers. As a result we’ve added quite a few new products and ranges.
One key development has been the addition of a new two-metre bakery unit at the front of the store. With the help of a well-respected local baker we now offer a wide range of pre-packed baked goods along with loose items and speciality cupcakes, which look, smell and taste fantastic and work really well as part of a meal deal with our self-serve coffee offer. The concept makes us an additional £1,500 a week – and that’s despite competition from another bakery just a few doors away.
We’ve also invested in two ice cream and slush machines, which despite a wet summer still brought in hundreds of pounds and even now are generating £250 a week.
Continuing our work with local suppliers, we’ve also introduced a new fresh meat range from a local butcher.
Looking ahead, our next big project is digital. I was surprised to read in this year’s ACS Local Shop Report that only 24% of stores have a website and only 22% are on Facebook. It made me realise just how much of a point of difference both elements could give us. I’ve taken on a new employee whose primary role (at least 20 hours a week) will be to focus on developing this area. I also plan to install digital media screens, and possibly Big DL beacons.
There’s certainly no standing still in this game.