You know what you know, but you don’t know it all.
How are your competitors doing? Check them out; you may be on top of most of the competition but not all. Ask yourself this question: Who is my biggest competitor? You may say Walmart or someone else, but folks will still go past several stores to get to your store for the right reasons.
Walmart’s U.S. same-store sales have been negative for seven consecutive quarters. I still believe Walmart can be outdone with service but there are other factors as well.
Your buying power from your warehouse, co-op and/or vendors may be just as good as your competitors. If not, talk to the folks responsible. Tell them what you are doing and what you want to accomplish—a 20 percent increase in sales, perhaps?—and solicit their support. Excitement is contagious and what better thing to be excited about than sales? I’ve always believed that you never know what you can get unless you ask and never reach the highest goals unless you shoot for them.
We are in one of the most trying times in America, with gas that costs more than $4 a gallon, which affects everything we touch, and unemployment at 10 percent, give or take. With all the uncertainties of today, folks still have to eat, and we are in the most exciting, challenging and rewarding business in all the world.
Success in the grocery business starts with cleanliness and goes from there to variety, friendliness, excitement, service, advertising, signage, availability and many other pieces. But it ends with that smile at the cash register and the words “thank you for shopping with us today and please come back and see us.”
As I have said before, many of the young folks we hire in our stores for front-end service have never been
required to be polite, to smile, to make eye contact and to speak to those they are serving. You must train them if you believe in giving the best customer service in town.
Keep an open mind and learn from your fellow man. Don’t ever think you know it all because you don’t; none of us do!