Food retailing is going through a global revolution. On one side of the equation companies such as Walmart, Aldi and Liedl are gaining market share as local commodity food retailers.
Where does this leave the independent food retailer and does he have a future? If you ask Pete Luckett of Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada, the answer is a definite yes. As the food giants move the industry in one direction, the independent retailer has no choice but to move in the opposite direction and to make food shopping an entertaining experience.
Pete started his retail life as a â€œbarrow boyâ€ selling fruit and vegetables in the English town of Nottingham. Having toured the world he ended up residing in the Atlantic provinces of Canada where he opened his award winning â€œPeteâ€™s Frootiqueâ€.
Peteâ€™s philosophy is simple; provide an entertaining experience and top quality product and your customers will keep coming back.
Itâ€™s about people
Peteâ€™s philosophy is that you need to show you care about people if you are to compete with the mass food retailers.
As a consumer visiting Peteâ€™s retail outlet you are guaranteed to be greeted at the entrance by a team member in top hat and tails. Steve the piano player will play your favourite tunes on his piano which is positioned on a stage above a display of fruit.
Itâ€™s not all gimmicks to entertain you
Pete employs a nutritionist to provide professional information on health related issues and each week team members attend product knowledge training sessions to ensure they can pass on product benefits to customers.
Pete is committed to building a team, his internal customers are as important as his external customers. Interviews to hire team members take place at 7.00am as a test to see if potential team members can get to work on time. The interview concentrates on checking the potential team memberâ€™s personality. Technical knowledge can always be learned, personality is an ability that is essential to become a member of a team.
Retail is detail
Peteâ€™s Frootique is a theatrical experience, customers are directed through a â€œboutiqueâ€ store layout.
On the journey they pass by â€œThe English Butcherâ€, â€œThe French Deliâ€, a bakery and an English product shop which stocks many of Peteâ€™s favourite products from when he was in Britain.
On the consumers journey they pass by theatrical props displayed in the ceiling as well as tasting stations that entice consumers to try new fruits and vegetables from around the globe.
Pete has one of the smallest advertising budgets in the industry. He rarely advertises in local newspapers, but has one of the most effective marketing strategies in the industry.
Pete has authored three books on fruit and vegetables, their origins and unique ways of cooking them.
He regularly appears on the national Canadian TV as a food expert and has a two minute segment on the national lifestyle program just before the weather report. These segments can include how to identify when mangos are ripe to how to cook new potatoes to preparing celeriac and beetroot soup.
Pete has a regular thirty minute documentary program on the Food Channel. Each episode takes one fruit or vegetable and follows its origins, how it is grown commercially and unique ways of preparing and cooking the produce. Programs have been produced on mangoes, macadamias, kiwi fruits and truffles.
Pete is also a motivational speaker. I have shared the stage with him at retail conferences in Canada, USA and the United Kingdom. His enthusiasm is contagious and an excellent advertisement for his business.
Consumers donâ€™t just visit Peteâ€™s Frootique because it is a fun place to go. They visit because he and his team are excellent retailers.
Power displays are built with skill based on years of experience. The team know how to effectively dummy displays, so that a little can look a lot. Endcaps are used throughout the store and cross merchandising ensures that they maximise the basket spent per customer.
Branding is critical
The brand â€œPeteâ€™s Frootiqueâ€ is precious to Pete and his team. The logo is evident outside the business, on all team membersâ€™ business cards and on all signs used to promote products. Every customer is constantly aware of what business they are in.
Pete is fully aware that all his customers have to go to a supermarket to finish off their weekly shop. He has secured the position as the expert on fruit and vegetables and the company that cares about the customer where consumers can enjoy shopping. This is a truly unique experience that customers talk about to their friends.
Pete and I have produced a training video â€œWinning at Retailâ€ based on Peteâ€™s Frootique. Its aim is to act as a training tool for retail team members on how to develop an experience in a retail environment. This video is available via our web site www.johnstanley.cc
If you have the opportunity to visit Canada, put Peteâ€™s Frootique on your itinerary. You wonâ€™t be disappointed.
About the Author
John Stanley is a conference speaker and retail consultant with over 20 years experience in 15 countries. He regularly contributes to retail magazines around the world and has authored several successful marketing and retail books including the best seller Just About Everything a Retail Manager Needs to Know. Visit www.johnstanley.cc