Competition

Variety is the spice of life, in the grocery business “Competition” is certainly the spice of life and sometimes we could do with a little less of it.

A very important facet of any meat operation is the realization that grocery stores seem to occupy every comer, making what the store down the street from you is doing very important, especially when you ask yourself why should customers driving down the street decide to shop in your market and, maybe more to the point, why are they shopping at your competitors?

In order to answer those questions, it is necessary to visit competition on a regular basis, making sure you pay attention to the prices, quality, variety, advertised specials, appearance of the meat department and store

Take particular notice of both the STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES, the condition of his display cases, with regard to variety and cleanliness.

Be aware of the type of clientele that shops in the store, if you see a different ethnic group or income group shopping there than at your store, try to establish the reason why this is, is it because you do not cater to that particular section of the community?

Is it because he provides convenient services for them that you do not?
When you visit these stores, we recommend a visit at least twice a month, go with an open mind, don’t go with the preconceived idea that you know more about the community than he does, or simply to look for his weaknesses.
Remember it is the strengths you should be worried about!!

Bring new items into the meat display and remove slow movers on a regular basis.
When considering new items, examine every category you carry, not only fresh meat but smoked, frozen, etc.
Many new items have big introductory offers, demos and other incentives which put money in your pocket.

Pay attention to television and other forms of consumer-oriented advertising, when items
get this kind of exposure they generate a lot of interest, but on no account should you decide based on your own personal preference, think about the buying habits of your customers, not your own.

Always sign new items as such and if they require special handling, say so, your customers will appreciate it.

Variety in the meat case should include family packs, this is a great sales tool and large family size packs should be in a variety of sizes.
Remember that families vary in size and if all family packs weigh about the same you are probably losing sales.

Family packs should run from 4/5 lbs to 10/12 lbs or more.
Be consistent…customers like to and items in the same place in the store all the time, and they like to and the same variety from which they can choose, all the time, so, make it easy for them to shop your meat department.
Finally, talk to your customers, use suggestion boxes….use surveys…do whatever it takes to find out what they want-ALWAYS RESPOND TO THEIR WISHES.
CUSTOMERS LOVE TO BE RECOGNIZED, SMILE WHEN YOU GREET THEM.
CUSTOMERS LIKE CLEAN, BRIGHT FULL CASES, GIVE IT TO THEM.
CUSTOMERS LIKE ‘MANAGER’S SPECIALS…DO IT.
CUSTOMERS ARE ALWAYS RIGHT EVEN WHEN THEY ARE WRONG.
CUSTOMERS ARE THE REASON YOUR STORE IS IN BUSINESS… BELIEVE IT!
CUSTOMERS HAVE OTHER PLACES TO SHOP…YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT
CUSTOMER SERVICE

All the meat cutting, grocery stocking, produce trimming, check stand operations etc that provide employment for so many people would not exist if there were no customers, yet, every day in this business customers fail to get the service and courtesy they DESERVE by employees and management.

By employees because they ignore company policy or just do not care or understand how important customers are.

By management because of a lack of a written company policy covering the care
and treatment of customers, or by failing to implement or enforce such a
policy,
Remember…there are a lot of stores out there looking for business and
the most likely reason for losing customers to competitors is  POOR SERVICE
.

The following are requirements in any good company policy regarding customer service.
1) Greet each and every customer with a smile.
2) Thank each and every customer for their patronage.
3) Inquire if they found everything they needed, and take note of any item you do not carry or you were out of at the time.
4) Try to make the customer happy by offering a like or more expensive
substitute at the same price.
5) A rain check should ALWAYS be offered for an AD ITEM that is out of stock, make a note to calling the customer when it comes in.
6) All your employees who work in the check stands should try to remember customers names, people like to be recognized.
7) Greet every customer, whether you are in your normal work area, i.e. check stand, or coming across the floor from lunch.
8) NEVER argue with a customer, always refer a dispute or customer complaint to the Manager on Duty.
A POSITIVE POLICY FOR REFUNDS IS ESSENTIAL.
Customer service is an art unto itself it takes time and patience to develop.
At the HIRING PROCESS, every effort should be made to hire people with people skills for positions requiring direct contact with customers.

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