Many supermarket chains are operating usual opening times on Friday and Saturday, but by law large stores of more than 280 square metres must close on Easter Sunday and operate reduced hours on Monday. When the competition is closed for business, this offers independents their time to shine.
Convenience stores should be the heart of the community. Open for business from early ‘till late, this Easter you can do more than mop-up the supermarket overspill who forgot to buy milk over the weekend. With the corporate competition closed, you can become the business customers can rely upon on a regular basis, securing their loyalty and boosting revenue all year round. What can you do to ensure you keep those customer coming back?
Flexible payment options
We are increasingly becoming a cashless society, with the Telegraph reporting the number of cash transactions is expected to drop to under 13 billion by 2023. The same research suggests we will see cashless transactions such as use of debit and credit cards, as well as contactless payment increase to over 27 billion transactions per year.
Offering your customers cashless payment options is essential to offering more choice and fewer restrictions. Accepting cash, chip and pin and contactless are now expected as standard, but paying with Apple and Android Pay, loyalty points and gift cards are becoming increasingly common ways customers want to pay for their goods.
Reward and incentivise loyal custom
Large retailers are jostling for custom just like everyone else. The way many clinch that valuable repeat customer is through loyalty programmes. Small and independent retailers don’t have the buying power to drive down prices like the large retailers, so offering a scheme that brings value to customers in other ways is a great tool to reward loyalty and learn about customer behaviour.
There are a number of ways you can utilise loyalty programmes to encourage repeat business. You may want to use a traditional points-based system to gain money off products, enoy extra benefits, or receive vouchers. Traditionally this type of scheme used a card that gets stamped or signed. Today SMEs can reward customers through their smartphone app, or provide them with a magnetic swipe card. Compatible with your EPOS system, these loyalty modules allow you to record what your customers buy and when they’re buying it. This system not only allows you to spot data trends but also personalise the reward your customer receives. By using this customer insight you can give them something they really want, making them more likely to return to your store to earn points for the products they love.
Anticipate customer need, stock the right products
Customers like choice. Where supermarkets can supply endless variations of the same product with multiple brands and aisles of offers, independents are restricted by money and space. Getting around of both these issues requires anticipating customer needs and being able to meet them. There's nothing more damaging to the customer experience than “Sorry, we don’t stock that.” or “We’ve run out.”
Having full insight into your business operations through accurate EPOS reporting allows you to identify popular products and discontinue non-moving stock. You can set alerts on low running stock and automate the reordering of those products. This means no excessive stockpiling, no wastage of fresh produce and no disappointing the customer.
The steady erosion of Sunday trading laws has left convenience stores at a disadvantage as they struggle to compete on pricing. The blanket restriction on bank holiday opening for supermarkets and large retailers means many shoppers will fall back on their local convenience store for the staple goods. This is the perfect time to showcase the great service and products your business offers, making customers think twice about visiting your corporate competition when normal service resumes.