31 July 2007, 15:56 PM
  • In this month's deli diary, Rob Ward muses on whether high prices are a help or a hindrance

‘Lovely food – but it’s too expensive to come every week’, I overheard a new visitor say at our farm shop one morning. Ouch, I thought, that’s not good, or is it? Of course, I would rather, ‘it’s good quality and good value for money, I’ll be back every week from now’!

The tough part is striking that tipping point when a visitor becomes a customer. We have got to have the wow factor, (the visitor in question was looking at our new ‘Deli-Bar’ recently installed by www.baileysmith.co.uk) but this lady reminded me that creating the right mix of value is just as important.

We retail in an environment that changes daily, what we sell as special today, all too often becomes an everyday purchase at your local supermarket within months.

Having a clear point of difference inconveniently makes us unusual and therefore provokes suspicion. I am, however, convinced price is perceived in the vast majority of food retailing. In other words they do not know what the price is, but they assume that you are expensive.

This lady needed to see some sort of offers that made her think that we are competitive as well as special. She didn’t! They were there but she only saw what she chose to see. In her eyes we had a shop full of great food that is more expensive than she is used too buying. She represents that group of people that are hovering on the edge.

We constantly work hard on trying to emotionally attach people to the products in our store, this successfully deflects those that can be persuaded away from price if they are that way inclined. But, the painful truth is that we only have a minute fraction of our local market share for the weekly shopping basket. This is despite achieving nearly sales of £1,000 per foot.

Making sure we position our mix of products needs to be edge of mainstream. Not pompous or pretensious, but grounded and centred on what many people would see as exceptional quality that is value for money. 

So, my message for this Deli Diary is ‘keep it real’ – make sure you have a balance of products that offer value for money, as well as the wow factor. Price is perceived, so go to work on building that perception, that’s if you want to maintain your foot-fall all year round!

Find out more about…
Rob’s store: www.greenfieldsonline.co.uk
His advisory services at: www.on-ward.co.uk
He is also presenting seminars on e-marketing and on-line retailing at this years business forum at London’s Speciality Fine Food fair:  http://www.specialityandfinefoodfairs.co.uk/page.cfm/link=30