Sharon's convenience store report
Sharon Kane, area manager at Henderson Retail in Northern Ireland, on competing with the supermarkets at Easter.
The biggest chocolate event of the year - Easter - is upon us and once again we are up against some fierce competition from the multiple retailers.
When we saw their advertisements and discounted prices on chocolate eggs in 2009, our initial reaction was sheer panic at the prospect of having Easter Eggs sitting on our shelves alongside barbecue essentials in the middle of the summer. Thankfully, this was not the case.
With medium eggs being promoted in most supermarkets for around £1 each, we ask ourselves, “how can we compete?”
Price-wise, the answer is "we can’t". We have our own offers on eggs in-store, which are very reasonable but we just can’t afford to cut our prices too far and last year proves we really don’t have to.
Our competitive edge is to offer our customers something else – excellent customer service. Service has always been a priority at Henderson Retail. This year we are really upping the ante and improving standards by introducing 16 mystery shopper audits per store instead of the four we had previously.
Customer loyalty is key to our business and we work hard to ensure we keep our customers coming back.
Another point of difference is the alternative gifts we offer alongside standalone chocolate eggs.
We have a great range of wrapped gifts including eggs wrapped with toys, balls and Easter bunnies, which gives the customer a choice if they want to give something a bit different.
We also have gifts to appeal to more mature customers (handy when going to visit the grandparents at Easter time). These include a fabulous range of flowers and plants in brightly coloured pots and fancy bags, which normally fly off our stands on Easter Sunday. It can be an extremely busy day in all of our stores.
That is one advantage we have over the multiples at Easter – we’re open when our customers need us. Loyalty works both ways.
Sharon Kane: points of difference
April 2010 Issue