30 January 2020, 09:14 AM
  • Consider a refurbishment or expansion project that will benefit both you and your customers
Future-proofing your shop

Have you had a look around your retail space recently and felt that it’s time for a refresh? In order to stay competitive and continue to ensure a good experience for visitors, it’s worth considering an expansion or refurbishment project. While investing during this tough retail climate can seem daunting, adding a café, gift section or even an instore butchers or bakery is a way of creating additional money-making opportunities that can entice visitors to come back time and time again.

The benefits of refurbishment
Decorating and revamping your retail space can make a world of difference to the customer experience. Aside from aesthetic changes that can be made depending on budget such as a lick of paint, updating to eco-friendly lighting and ordering new furnishings and storage units, it’s also important to think about layout. Shuffling around product displays and re-configuring how shoppers walk around the space is key and helps to differentiate your shop from others in the area.

When the Canalside Farm, Shop & Café was expanded, the interiors also received a facelift. Anna Barton, head of business development at Canalside, said that the customer journey was a big consideration when planning the work, “We felt the inside needed to look far fresher, with the food telling the story rather than too much signage. We wanted our display units to look unique and showcase all of our produce to the best of its ability. We also wanted the customer journey to make more sense so a lot of time was spent with the interior architect and our shop manager making sure we had the best possible layout, which we feel we have achieved,” she says.

Expanding the retail space
There can be many reasons why an expansion can be the right move for your business. For Canalside, the desire to enhance their range of own-brand products meant that changes needed to be made. Anna explains,“We added an in-house bakery and increased our shop floor space by around 30%. Our bakery revenue has increased by around 150% comparing YOY so far, and we feel the produce we offer is far superior than any ‘bought-in’ items we were selling previously. We have also managed to increase our gift range and have more space to do in-house tasters so that customers can try new products before purchasing which we have found to increase sales also. The space that we extended the farm shop into was also becoming more and more redundant as it was used to pack our wholesale strawberries. We have slowly been doing less and less wholesale business (and now do none at all) so there was less requirement for such a large packing area.”

Rupert Evans owns and operates Denstone Hall Farm Shop & Café with wife Emma. Works to the premises have included a two-storey extension, new garden room and increased spaces in the car park. Rupert explains the benefits that the renovations have given the business; “Last year we completed a two-storey extension which has come into its own this year by giving us the floor space we wanted for Emma to create a huge Christmas retail experience upstairs, where the whole of the first floor has been given over to selling everything from decorations to wrapping to gifts.

“This has given us a great opportunity to expand our food offering because it has freed up floor space in the main farm shop, which has enabled us to increase the range of home-made, homebaked produce across the deli and butchery departments. These are two areas in which we are experiencing growth, with demand increasing for vegetarian items such as our quiches and frittatas, and more customers showing an interest in pre-prepared quality meat products with known provenance from our butchers. Increased floor space has been vital in allowing us to respond to such changes as well as develop into a ‘destination’ where visitors can enjoy a richer, more varied and a longer lasting visit.”

When it comes to any planned works, the key consideration is to create as many opportunities as possible for sales. Ensure that even one-time visitors are able to see clearly your USP and the products and services on offer and are encouraged to purchase.

Image: Canalside Farm, Shop & Cafe. Photo by Amanda White Photography

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