A great deli and smallgoods offering, according to Ritchies Stores CEO Fred Harrison, has fresh product on display, a good extensive range, “enticing and creative” merchandising, and a team that’s engaged and well informed about the products.
“This sounds easy,” he says, “but when you carry so many SKUs in a delicatessen, it’s easy for product under the display case lights to start to discolour, or curl at the edges.
“Fresh product is the absolute key. Customers have an expectation that when they take the purchased product home, it can sit in the fridge for three to four days. If the product is deteriorating before leaving the supermarket, we’re going to ultimately disappoint the customer.”
Range is also critical for the category.
“We all sell the basics,” says Mr Harrison, “but selling unique or high-end products, such as grandmother ham (one of the top-end full muscle hams in the market), helps to create your point of difference.
“Of all the departments in a store, a well merchandised deli has the ability to catch the eye of the consumer and bring people to the counter. Good old-fashioned merchandising is critical. As we know, there’s far more to operating a deli than just stocking smallgoods. Fresh cut and wrap cheese, for instance, is a must-have in premium delis these days… Quality biscuits, and quince pastes to accompany them, also go a long way to creating a one-stop shop at your delicatessen.
“Last but by no means least”, adds Mr Harrison, is a friendly team who know their product.
“Customers do ask for recommendations at the deli,” he says, “and your team must be knowledgeable when a customer asks a question and also be willing to seek help and advice, rather than guess if they don’t know the answer.”
Read more from Ritchies in the May issue of Retail World.