Seasonal advice for new fine food retailers

16 November 2022, 08:08 AM
  • With so much uncertainty going on, new independents are likely going to struggle over the next few months. Five fine food retailers with decades of experience between them share their top tips
Seasonal advice for new fine food retailers

Amy Coleman, the Rhug Estate
My advice would be to consider the challenges everyone is facing and think about ways you can offer your customers incentives to shop with you rather than elsewhere. Whether this is through a loyalty scheme, discounts or promotions or customer service for example.

Tom Newey, Cobbs Farm Shops
Don’t over-order products and find yourself with Christmas-themed stock you end up wasting off in January, hammering your margins. Running out of some non-core lines a day or two before Christmas is absolutely ok. In those febrile days running up to the big day, your customers will likely be as stressed as you are, albeit for different reasons. Empathy is vital, even if inside you feel like screaming.

Mark Kacary, Norfolk Deli
Understand your market. Understand how your customer is, what level of disposable income they might have, and what effect the economic situation is likely to have on them. Understand the area your business is located in, and who is your competition. What will you be seeking to sell which is available elsewhere in a cheaper format?

Heather Copley, Farmer Copleys
Have a stiff drink! In all seriousness, if it is your first year as an independent retailer, you’ve had a baptism of fire and thus best foot forward attitude but keep a check of your numbers, know your numbers and if you need to shift some product lines, remember your first loss/discount is your best loss.

Simon Jones, Forest Deli
For any new businesses, my honest advice would be to not overstretch yourselves, and not to overstock – but it is a fine balance. Having a lot more crackers and chutney in store is no bad thing, as that will still sell next year, having too much very ripe brie left is not such a good idea!

Also, another local deli told us when we opened, don’t panic when it goes very quiet in mid-December – customers are making fridge and cupboard space before stocking up for the season.

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