With many consumers desperately scrimping to make ends meet, and shopping around in search of the best deals, independent retailers have been using their creative flair to develop jaw-dropping value initiatives that will ensure they retain existing customers and widen their appeal to new shoppers. Convenience Store drills down into the promotional mechanics of these breathtaking bargains and talks to retailers about the method in their apparent madness.

Serge Notay head shot

One of the most publicised initatives are the sensational 1p deals being promoted by a number of retailers who are signed up with the Snappy Shopper delivery platform. Batley-based Serge Notay joined the service in August and jumped at the chance to get involved. “The Snappy Shopper 1p promotion has been absolutely brilliant,” says the owner of Notay’s Convenience Store. 

It all kicked off with a lunch deal during the Back To School period featuring a loaf of bread, a sandwich filler (meat or cheese), dilute juice, a pack of fruit and a six pack of crisps for 1p if ordered through the Snappy Shopper app. 

Notay's Snappy Shopper 1p lunch deal

The orders came in thick and fast. “We’d normally do about six deliveries on a Wednesday but I’d done 30 in a morning,” says Serge. “It’s stuff that customers would have normally bought anyway and it’s not like Uber Eats or Just Eat where they put the margins up. Snappy Shopper is quite strict on that - it has to be shop prices.” 

The Snappy Shopper deal required a £7 minimum spend. Serge made this easy for customers to achieve - whilst continuing to offer value - by running additional discounts. In September he ran a promotion on short-dated Ribena - selling a case of Ribena 12 bottles for £5 (They’d normally be £1.19 each). “Customers were helping me grow my turnover, they were jumping on to the Ribena deal, topping up on milk or a couple of bags of pound sweets and then adding the 1p deal to the basket,” says Serge. 

The 1p deal was covered in the local newspaper, which has led to even more sales - and delivery sign ups. “Because we went into the Yorkshire Examiner, our reach has blown up,” he says. “We’re getting new customers on to the app and we’d have never had that in our till.” Serge explains that Snappy Shopper helped fund the deal “They were giving us £3 per deal. It would cost us just under £4, so we’re losing about 67p, but it’s swings and roundabouts. If a new customer is costing 67p and you’re getting all that goodwill, then it’s worth more than 67p.”

Notay's Snappy Shopper 1p Big Brand bundle

He followed this up with a 1p big brand bundle worth £10, including Diet Coke, Walkers, Maltesers, and Haribo, which saw over 250 orders made in just two days. This gained the store even more publicity as it captured the attention of GB News, which filmed a report on the store, describing it as ‘A food delivery service that’s delivering for the community in a cost of living crisis.’ 

Mandeep Singh

Meanwhile, in Sheffield, Singh’s Premier has also been offering eye-catching discounts exclusively for delivery customers as part of its Delivered Benefits initiative. 

But these aren’t the loss leaders they might appear to be. Instead, Mandeep uses his retailer nous to bag himself exclusive cash & carry deals. “The old school days of doing a deal are still there,” he grins. 

Singhs Premier_Delivered Benefits

He recently promoted £1.25 price marked bottles of Coca-Cola at 17p, and he’s about to sell eight cans of Dr Pepper at £2.99. “In store it’ll be £3.99,” he says. “My profit margin is quite healthy (30%) even at £2.99.”

The Singhs’ social media pages are regularly updated with new Delivered Benefits to keep customers engaged and regularly ordering. “There’s random stuff all the time,” he says. “We’ll have Paddy’s Irish Whisky on Delivered Benefits for £14.99, which is £22.99 in store. We’re making 20% on the delivered price.”

Growing his delivery customer base means Mandeep can reach beyond customers immediately local to the store, and also boosts basket spend as he claims delivered customers spend triple that of store customers.

Mandeep Coffee Loyalty

The business also runs a coffee loyalty scheme whereby customers have a key fob that allows them to buy a £1.49 hot drink for £1. “The aim was to get my loyalty cards on the customers’ key ring and that’s where we are (like the Tesco loyalty card),” says Mandeep. 

He claims that around two or three new customers are signed up on a daily basis and that there are over 600 in all. As with the delivery deals, even at the discounted price, Mandeep is still making profit - 68p per cup. “Out there there’s massive opportunities … you can see repetitive business in loyalty,” he says. 

One Stop Matlock

Another retailer offering seemingly too-good-to-be-true value is One Stop retailer Dee Sedani who has launched a Cost of Living Discount Day offering 10% in store every Tuesday until the end of February. The offer requires a £10 minimum spend and excludes post office services, off licence, tobacco, services, vapes and food to go, but means that customers can make major savings on their groceries, fresh produce and frozen foods.

“I woke up in the middle of the night and thought this is a great idea - everyone is moaning about the cost of living so how can I build up loyalty, build footfall and at the same time profiteer from it without the customer knowing?” says the retailer who owns stores in Derbyshire and Staffordshire.

Dee Sedani_One Stop Packmoor_Cost of Living Discount

His marketing strategy was to grow footfall beyond his existing customer base. “My daughter designed a poster and we made up massive A3 posters in frames,” says Dee. “We posted on social media and we put leaflets through doors outside the immediate area - 1.5miles from store because people generally within a mile use their local store, so there’s no need to promote to them - we need to go further,” he explains.

He claims that simplicity is key when creating these types of promotion. “Complexity drives people insane!” he says. “Our deal doesn’t add any complexity at the till point  - staff just press a discount button on Tuesdays.” He picked Tuesday for logistics reasons - “If we sell out on Tuesday, we have the opportunity to replenish on a Friday,” he says.

He states that the initiative has had the desired effect, with his team reporting that the promotion is bringing new customers into the store.  “It’s about people spending more than £10 and getting new customers,” he says. “”Even though I’ve lost 10% [of sales], I’ve gained overall - I make 18-20% on a product - all I’m doing is sharing half that profit with the customer.” 

Dee said the promotion had put £700 in people’s pockets within its first week across his three stores. “It’s a lot of money to lose, but I didn’t lose that money because I gained customers and gained loyalty.”