Make the Grade this September

Date released:  29th August 2013
Notting Hill

Chocs away!

Whether your favourite Willy Wonka was Gene Wilder or Johnny Depp, there’s no doubt that the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory films hold a timeless appeal.

So for the independent retailer, the new Wonka chocolate bars from Nestle are ‘must stocks’.

The scrumdiddlyumtious bars come in two flavours: Millionaire’s Shortbread and Chocolate Nice Biscuit, and are available in your local Booker branch now.

The 'Back to School' market in the UK is worth over £700 million, and television adverts for uniforms now start during the summer holidays!

If you don't sell school uniforms or pencil cases, the 'Back to School' season might seem to hold limited appeal. Yet the change in consumer patterns from school holiday to school term can present a brilliant opportunity for independent retailers.

For parents, life has become easier (they no longer have to provide childcare from 9am to 3pm) yet more difficult (the chaotic morning school run). If you offer services to make their lives easier, you will win lots of loyal customers.

Why not.

  • Offer deals on quick, healthy breakfast options, such as porridge oats and orange juice.
  • Display 'lunchbox ideas' in your store.
  • Chop up fruit and veg and sell them in lunchbox-ready packages.
  • Package up all the ingredients needed for an evening meal (such as sauce, onions, peppers, chicken breasts, rice) in a brown takeaway bag and price it as a meal deal, for parents in a hurry.
  • Work together with local service providers to boost both of your businesses. For example, you could offer a voucher for a discount off a child's Back to School haircut at a local salon for any customer who achieves a minimum basket spend. Other possible partnerships include nurseries and car wash services.
  • Give parents the option of emailing you a shopping list, allowing your staff to pick out their order, and keeping it ready at the till. It's important to weigh up the pros and cons here- parents will appreciate the time saving, but you may lose out on 'pester power' sales that come from children taking parents around the store!
  • Do something fun to involve the kids, such as a Back to School Lucky Dip at the till.

  • If you're near a secondary school, you're also likely to find gaggles of children hit your shop between 3pm and 4pm. Be clear on what you will and will not accept in store, for example, some stores will only allow a certain number of pupils in store at one time.

    Whatever rules you decide upon, display them clearly and make sure your store still feels friendly, as you can make a good profit from pocket money treats! Check out our Back to School deals on Freddo Faces, Buttons, Haribo and Tuck Shop tubs, Swizzels Matlow sweets and Tango Shock Rocks.

    Finally, don't forget teachers, who will be facing huge piles of paperwork and challenging new classes. Great deals on tea, coffee and biscuits will always go down well!

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