5 April 2002


The farm shop column by

retail expert John Stanley

SUPERMARKETShave really raised the bar when it comes to freshness, but farm shops should now be raising it even further.

Produce as fresh or fresher than the supermarket is essential. But you can have an edge over the supermarket by having fresh people – something they find difficult to achieve. Your average sale will grow if you recruit people with personality and then provide them with product knowledge.

One of the worlds top retailers in this industry is Pete Luckett, who runs Frootique in Canada. His fruit and vegetable shop has become a multi-million $ business, despite the fact its surrounded by supermarkets.

Every time I go to Frootique, Mr Lucketts team is having fun plus they know the facts about the benefits of their products.

How do you achieve the dream team to grow your business?

&#8226 Recruit people with personality. You need people who are happy to make eye contact with a stranger and are able to start a conversation.

&#8226 Train your team to be customer friendly. Make sure all team members are trained in the skills of communication and selling; using body language in retailing; using open, closed and leading questions and being a good host.

&#8226 Have a monthly product knowledge session. Get one of your team to chair it, take one product and brainstorm all you know about its origins, its health properties, how to cook it and so on.

Promote that product in your shop during the next month. Place it in a prominent position and create a poster or sign stating three benefits of that product – any more will confuse your customer.

Recruit for personality, train for knowledge and watch your fresh produce sales and your profits soar.

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