Taking ideas from other retailers and using them in your shop is a great way to freshen up your business. Here’s a few of the best for you to pinch

How to create an eye-catching fresh display

Adam Hogwood, Budgens of Broadstairs, Kent:

eye-catching display

“We wanted to capture the trend that the multiples started, of having fresh produce at the front of the store with the wow factor of Bintesh Amin’s Budgens store in Whitstable, where the produce section is just incredible.

“We discussed a relay of our entire chilled area with a fresh food advisor from Budgens, with the aim of showing off our fresh, local farm shop offering to our customers as soon as they came through the door.

“We used wicker baskets, hessian and small chalkboards to create the rustic look for the section to really bring it to life and surprise people, showing that they can find such a well-stocked section in a petrol station.

“Since we carried out the move, the initial impact the store has as you walk through the door is fantastic, and we have had many destination shoppers who pick up other groceries while they buy their produce, increasing basket spend and adding 10% to chilled sales.”

Free fruit vouchers for school kids

Rav Garcha, Gains Park, West Midlands:

“I was speaking to Kash Khera of Simply Fresh and he told us about how his stores had run a project where kids were given free pieces of fruit, so I asked Nisa if they could help me set up a similar promotion.

“We gave out vouchers with the theme of ‘fruit is your friend’ to school kids and offered them a piece of fruit each day for five days in exchange for a voucher. It was such a success last year that this year we decided to get Britvic on board with the project. They designed the letter with the vouchers offering a piece of fruit and a Fruit Shoot drink. We distributed about 400 letters - one for every child.

“In terms of raising awareness of the store versus taking an ad in the paper, this has paid back tenfold. All the vouchers had to be filled in with the parents’ contact details and we put them all in a raffle to win a Kindle. We then wrote congratulations messages to the winner using our electronic shelf-edge labelling, which created a real talking point in store.”

Let store managers take the strain

Harris Aslam, two Nisa stores in Fife, Scotland:

Gary Bilbrough

Kishor’s manager Gary Bilbrough (back row, left) shares the load at Nisa Local Toddington

“Retail is a big learning curve and it’s all about learning things and taking them back to your store.

“Now that we are in the process of growing our business, I don’t have time to build relationships with each of my stores’ communities, but store managers can take on this role and play a key part in running the business.

“Retailers such as Kishor Patel of Houghton Trading in Bedfordshire have pulled it off tremendously. His business model is heavily dependent on the managers. Different managers look after different areas, so one looks after advertising for media screens, while another might take care of local sourcing. They all play an active role in their local communities, too. We are in the process of implementing Kishor’s business model across our stores.”

Put ice in a dedicated freezer

Steve Bassett, Londis Weymouth, Dorset:


“I always go into other c-stores and have a look around. I’ve installed a chest freezer with an ice cube wrap around after seeing one in a 7-eleven in Las Vegas in the States. It’s a good way of letting customers know that you always have ice. There are lots of pubs near my town centre store, and seeing a dedicated ice cube freezer gives them confidence that we will always have some in stock. I already had an old freezer, so I just added the vinyl showing ice cubes and set it up in the alcohol aisle. It’s been really effective.”

Ridged trays of soft drinks tocreate impact

Mandeep Singh, Singh’s Premier, Sheffield:

“I’ve started using ridged trays to display promotional 2ltr bottles of Pepsi at the end of an aisle on a ‘two for £2’ deal. The trays mean you can stack the bottles four units high, so you can unload 80 bottles onto the display. I saw the trays being used in our local Morrisons so I asked my rep to get me some. It makes such an impact to see the bottles stacked so high. I now buy Pepsi by the pallet because I sell so many!”

A ‘Wine of the month’ display

Sunder Sandher Londis Leamington, Warwickshire:

Wine of the month

“I got the idea for a Wine of the Month when I visited a Centra store in Cork on an Association of Convenience Stores tour. It used a chalkboard and was a bit different to the usual posters or cards. I went on Ebay to see if I could find something similar and picked one up for £30. I either use it for a wine that is on promotion, or for a premium wine priced at about £15. I photograph it and put it on my Facebook page.”

Start small when organising events

Jai Singh, Singh’s Premier, Sheffield:


A coffee machine at Jai’s store raised £500 for charity

“It was Dennis Williams from Premier Broadway in Edinburgh who has really helped me. I didn’t know how to get involved with community events - how to plan them and who to talk to.

“Dennis has run lots of events at his store over the years, so I found out how he went about it. He advised me to start off with running a coffee morning and to get staff involved, and to speak to Booker to ask it for support.

“We organised such an event and had 150 people come to our coffee morning; it created a really good atmosphere.

“We raised £500 for Macmillan Cancer Support. Events such as this help to build a relationship with you and your staff and the community.”

Handy baskets on wheels with long handles

Shaun and Jack Marwaha, three Premier stores, Glasgow:


Shaun: “We’re up and down the country constantly looking at different shops, sites and set ups to see what we can learn from others.

Even on holiday we look at other shops to see what they are doing differently. One of the best ideas we’ve taken was from a Tenerife supermarket which had baskets with four wheels and a long handle that you could pull around like a trolley. We sourced some in the UK, trialled them in one store, and then rolled them out to all our stores.”

Jack: “We saw an uplift in sales from the new baskets - it’s a win-win as they are easier for customers to carry, and that means they tend to purchase more goods.”

Sell some premium fireworks

Paul Cheema, Malcolm’s Store, Coventry:


“I am pals with Dean Holborn of Holborn’s in Redhill, Surrey, and we had a conversation about fireworks, as Dean sells a lot. I stocked a small range, but after hearing how Dean approached the category I decided to start stocking bigger fireworks and big display packs. I sourced a new supplier who agreed to manage all of the upfront costs, and all stock is on a sale or return basis. We make a 55% net margin and sell eight times as many fireworks as we used to.”

Mix and match promotion for ales and cider

Amarjit Bhdaal, Spar Auckley, Doncaster:

“The display at David Charmin’s Spar Parkfoot in Kent was the inspiration for a mix and match promotion across ciders and ales. We always had different ale and cider brands on promotion and it was the brands on promotion that would sell. So we started doing a deal of three ciders or ales for £5.50 across the whole section. Since changing the section over the summer we saw an uplift of 25-30%, and we’re still seeing a 5% uplift now.”

Losers draw for National Lottery

Dan Cock, Whitstone Village Stores, Devon:

“Our Lottery Losers Draw has been really successful. Jai Singh of Singh’s Premier in Sheffield suggested it on the Booker members’ forum. Instead of buying lottery tickets online, customers will now come to the store as they know that even if they don’t win they can enter their losing ticket into our draw. We put 10p for each ticket that goes in the draw. We’ve seen a 20% increase in lottery sales as a result.”