Nisa retailer Amrit Pahal is focusing on three key factors he believes will successfully steer his store through the latest lockdown, which came into force in England last week.
Pahal, owner of Nisa Local in Walsall, High Heath, says he has been preparing for such a situation for several weeks now, having seen stricter rules come into force in countries such as Belgium, France and Germany.
According to Pahal, his focus has been firmly on availability, home delivery and value.
So ahead of what was an inevitable lockdown, Pahal has been building up stock levels of key products, as well as expanding his range. Key lines include toilet roll, sanitiser and canned goods.
He has also broadened his BWS range to cater for the shift in consumer spending from the on-trade to the off-trade, a trend he expects to still be very much in play post-lockdown.
“As we enter the Christmas period, which will follow four weeks of lockdown with the on-trade closed, the off-trade market will grow respectively,” he says.
“So we’ve gone heavy on alcohol and stocked all main lines.”
Pahal has seen his home deliveries increase up to 40% since the second lockdown was first mooted last month.
First time around, retailers had to quickly adapt their business model to offer a delivery service that hadn’t been done before. But now, Pahal is equipped to provide an “enabled and active-ready delivery system”.
He hired a whole new team to look after that arm of the business, including an online ordering manager and four new drivers.
“So, we will be encouraging customers to stay home, stay safe, and we will get everything to you in 30 to 60 minutes,” says Pahal.
To add another layer, Pahal is offering his customers a four-week “lockdown special” of deals.
He wants to show customers that while he has the right stock and availability, he has the right prices too.
He will be pushing the lockdown offers through a round of leaflets, social media and in-store PoS that he can sustain as a business, and provides value to his customers.
“My strategy is to use the next four weeks at minimal margin, so I can hammer home that reputation with customers and give people the value they need,” he adds.
“It will also ease off the pressure to constantly offer deals throughout Christmas. So after offering four weeks of value, I can go back to normal margins in December and then sail off into January.”