Store owner Gary Batten is generating almost a quarter of his business through home deliveries
Most orders are picked from the shelves before the store opens to ensure staff and shopper safety
Sales have boomed at an independent Nisa retailer in a small Cornish village as locals reluctant to visit large supermarkets during the coronavirus lockdown sought home deliveries from the convenience operator.
Gary Batten, who runs two stores in the St Austell area of Cornwall, is generating almost a quarter of his business through home deliveries after launching a next-day service in March.
The move led to an increase in sales of almost 40% across the two stores since the onset of Covid-19.
The new home delivery service, along with a website – phoenixstores.co.uk – and increased publicity across social media platforms have contributed to an increase in overall turnover of 56% over the past year.
“We have been unbelievably busy and worked 12-hour days every day for 10 weeks or more now,” Batten said. “A lot of people just don’t want to go into the big supermarkets and instead are choosing us.
“We have listened to what our customers have said, what they want and have tried to respond and offer additional services to support them during these times.
“Everything we’re doing is about our customers – what they need now and also with a view to retaining them, both old and new, after all this is over.”
Customers place their orders by email using a link on the new website, make payment over the phone with a £1 service charge added, and the shopping is delivered by a team of volunteer drivers.
To ensure staff and shopper safety, most orders are picked from the shelves before the store opens, with a separate till relocated in the back of the shop, where it is then bagged up and collected by the drivers at the rear entrance.
Batten added: “We have had to adapt to the changing situation in order to move forward with the business. If you don’t adapt you won’t survive, and the feedback we’ve had from customers has been absolutely amazing.”