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How not to be one of 'those' stores

How not to be one of 'those' stores

Is the way to achieve higher same-store sales so obvious that it’s easy to miss?

Recently I worked on a project that sifted through thousands of shopper interviews about why those customers avoided certain stores. The reasons boiled down to two main issues: the lack of hospitality and/or disorganized, dirty stores.

Bottom line, the stores weren’t very well run.

When we presented the survey results to the senior management team, their reaction was, “That’s obvious — tell us something we don’t know.” In the end, these senior managers seemed to disregard the findings because acting on them didn’t involve anything special — just running good stores day after day. They seem to have been looking for more of a silver bullet, or at least something more exciting or sexy.

But, both my experience and the evidence suggest that there is something to getting the basics right, even if they are not all the buzz. Watching Jewel gain traction in the Chicago market, mainly by improving the service its staff delivers and the condition of their stores, shows that focusing on the basics can help today’s food retailer grow sales.

So why do some retailers ignore the obvious?  

It strikes me that there are two reasons folks miss the basics: Either they’ve lost the ability to really know how to operate stores in a way that pleases customers, or they just don’t think it’s worth the effort. Shopper surveys can solve the first problem by pointing out where there are opportunities for improvement, and as for the second problem, I hope this column will convince you it’s worth the effort.


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In fact, my work with other retail food channels (convenience retailers) shows that doing a better job with the basics is actually the biggest opportunity available for increasing sales. This is because even well run chains likely have a few stores where there’s an opportunity for improvement, and shoppers will notice the changes.

What retail banners do you see that have improved their business results by focusing on getting the basics right?

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