Recently an industry colleague of mine said he really enjoyed reading my blogs and ideas – but he was struggling to find any business model in what I am writing about. And he has a valid point!
After all in one blog I write about operations, the next blog about promotions and the next blog about out of stocks. So I thought that this week I would try and put it all into some sort of perspective.
I am passionate about this industry and particularly its growth potential. But I see it from the customers’ perspective. Yes I know customer is king in theory – but in practice we are not doing a good job of looking after our customers on all fronts.
We think we are looking after their needs but in reality that is not what it looks like in our stores. Our range is poor, our pricing and labeling is shocking – and our stock levels are near non- existent in a large number of our stores in prime locations. And of course our store layouts and all the other issues I have talked about play a role in keeping and growing our customer base. And this is what I am about.
I had the mis-fortune as it turned out last week – of taking a group of new dealers on site visits across all the different networks in the Sandton/West Rand area. All in all we visited 21 stores. There was not one – and I repeat not one – that had anywhere near full shelves. In fact most were a disgrace – and it was mid week, not even the weekend! And the housekeeping standards were appalling!
Normally when I do this – there are one or two that stand out and it is very apparent why they are doing well – but not this time.
How customers even buy pies for example from some of these outlets is a mystery! And for most stores these are our top sellers outside of cigarettes and oils etc. Just imagine what we could do with our sales if we got the basics right!
A while back I asked where are our suppliers in all of this? What are they doing about it – and the Franchisors?
If a Kwik Spar with 100 times more lines, can keep their shelves full with pricing labels up to date – with less staff in the back office – can do it right – so can we!
And so now I hope what I write about makes sense, as to where I am coming from. Yes I discuss store layouts or out of stocks – but it all has to do with doing the best we can for our customers. Right now it looks like we are taking them for granted.
If we get it right just imagine how much more profitable we could all be!
Take care out there