Find something to stand out says Scotfresh MD
LIFE in retail can be tough, tougher than he used to think, Chris Gallacher, managing director of nine-store convenience chain Scotfresh, told the SGF conference.
“Spending 19 years in wholesale I always thought that retailers exaggerated the challenges they faced in our sector.
“Having been in Scotfresh for two years I’ve got to say ‘How wrong was I?’”
But if the retailing business throws up constant change and challenge there are things that can be done to address them, he said. And at Scotfresh the team has a strategy. Most of the points begin with or contain the letter “f” so the firm calls its approach the F Factor
The first, most important, reality, he argued, is that before you even think of price, promotion or profit you should ensure that the business is safe and secure. That means safe from crime, as much as is possible, and safe too from falling foul of regulatory difficulty. Retailers must make sure staff always do the right thing.
Friendly staff are important but staff with a poor attitude are bad for business
Customers now expect good fresh and chilled lines, he said. He recognised that some retailers have concerns about wastage. You simply have to have to accept there will be some waste. But it’s important to make sure your supplier gives you what works for. Scotfresh had changed supplier and had seen a significant improvement, he said.
Full availability is also very important. Retailers should use the technology available to them. If only 50% of retailers are using EPOS that can’t be right, he argued.
Friendly staff are great assets but staff with a poor attitude are bad for business. Some retailers are scared of employment law, he suggested. Know the law and don’t accept poor staff behaviour.
Be famous for something among your customers, he advised. Scotfresh has recently introduced weigh-out sweets and a celebration cake ordering service. It also has many local suppliers. All of those give it important points of difference, he said.
If you have the appropriate catchment embrace and invest in food to go, it’s working for Scotfresh.
And be fast. The company has always regarded two as a queue and it’s just about to trial self-scanning tills, biometric fingerprint ID, and cigarette vending.