Sales and Profit Success – Natural Choice, Ashbourne
This case study shows the impact and results of Derbyshire Retail Help working with a successful and established Independent Retailer during 2011/2012.
Situation & Context
Dina Holland and Anna Brown (Derbyshire Retail Help) worked with an Independent Store in Ashbourne – Natural Choice – a Health Shop and Therapy Centre.
We followed our tried and tested way of working. The objective of this six-month focus was to highlight the benefits for Independent Retailers in employing a small business coach with specialist retail experience & skills. The initial objective was to increase footfall and average customer spend.
We chose a shop that was well-established, with a good reputation and run by owners that did not necessarily believe that they needed further help, support and guidance. (To choose a shop that was clearly doing badly and was desperate for support would have been too easy a challenge to make a difference.)
The results proved not only an increase in sales, but outstanding feedback from the owners on the benefits of working with us. There is still potential for increasing profit further.
1.2 Customer Profile
Natural Choice is a shop based in Ashbourne, Derbyshire. It has been trading for 25 years. It is owned and run by brothers Steve and Roy Parker. It sells natural food products, supplementary medicines, green and organic household products and ethically sourced gifts. It has a Therapy Centre upstairs with a wide choice of therapeutic treatments. Currently they have no online presence in any format.
Our challenge was to establish a process that would offer Independent Retailers insights/learnings/processes from the corporate world of retailing; that translated to a workable and realistic support model with successful financial outcomes.
1.4 Finding the right partner: Derbyshire Retail Help
2. How we worked to solve the problem
We agreed a six-month trial to adopt and implement our coaching programme. Following the initial assessment and review, a two-hour monthly shop visit was held with owners Steve and Roy Parker.
First Meeting: August 2011 – Shop Visit:
We initially spent 2 hours with the owners seeking to gain an understanding of their business.
Our Owner/Manager Interview includes: basic details, vision of the owners, current situation, latest and previous results, ranging & merchandising principles, pricing strategy, sale/clearance management process, and staff induction & training policy.
During this first visit we rated the following areas from one – six. (6 = outstanding 1= extremely poor)
- Frontage – from the street
- Entrance to the shop
- Product ranges
- Merchandising standards
- Staff/Team – from the welcome through skills and to parting
- Facilities/services for customers & team
- Customer service & care
- Online presence
Second Meeting: September 2011
Our first visit results were discussed and we presented the owners with the feedback of all the key areas in a percentage format, listing the areas in order of priority for actions.
This was one of our most difficult discussions as providing areas of opportunity can sometimes be seen as criticism. The overall difference of scores was a gap of just 18%, with Steve and Roy grading themselves overall in a more positive light than we did.
Next steps were converted to an action plan and the areas that we both agreed to work on were the first impression from both the exterior and immediate entry area of the shop. A review of the space to sales for their own brand Natural Choice food and snacks range indicated that this profitable category needed more visibility.
The next four monthly visits:
For all visits specific actions were agreed, clarifying what, how, who and by when. Action plans were both created and reviewed together each time.
In summary, work on the following areas was carried out over the next four months:
- Exterior of the shop and window displays
- Interior of the shop and merchandising
- Removal of surplus equipment that was not paying its way
- Point of sale materials reviewed and refreshed
- Review/condensing of the local community area/advice leaflets
- Christmas plan
- Window display themes
- Space to sales opportunities
- Impulse opportunities/gifting/shelving
- Discussions on use of space verses obstacles i.e. fixtures and fittings
- Review of equipment and visibility to highly profitable products.
- We agreed the next 12 month focus areas in Jan 2012.
3. What happened as a result?
3.1 Results and Benefits
We started working with the owners at the end of August 2011. Over the period of time Natural Choice achieved positive growth in both customer count and average transaction value (customer spend per visit). The feedback from both owners was very positive indeed.
3.2 Return on Investment
Roy & Steve Parker’s increased net sales and profit at Natural Choice meant that they gained a return on their investment in our programme of 5.34 over the 6-month period alone!
3.3 Customer Quote
Roy Parker commented ‘My initial scepticism quickly turned to being really amazed about how we can continue to grow our business. It’s great to have a fresh pair of eyes looking across all aspects of our shop. The results have been fantastic and I’m really pleased’
Steve Parker commented ‘It’s not just our profits that have improved either, it’s wonderful to be getting very positive customer feedback about the changes we have made in the shop.’
‘Anna and Dina’s style is very engaging and we have felt supported and challenged in equal measure throughout’
3.4 Would you like to know more about us?
For more information about Derbyshire Retail Help support services for all types of small & medium size businesses, do please get in touch.
We’d be more than happy to give you an initial free 1-hour telephone consultation, and we can take it from there.
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