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Three tips for merchandise management

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Montréal is known for its large concentration of dépanneurs, but that hasn’t stopped André Forget from carving out a niche in the eastern side of the city. He says the location of his three Dépanneur Forget sites, in the neighbourhood he knows and loves, gives him a definite edge.

Using his industry knowledge, Forget works hard to implement the right promotions in his stores. He says he’s always merchandising and running promotions, whether it’s on beer, chips, soft drinks, or even dairy products.

“Every month, we have a new promotion with our Beau-Soir banner,” he explains. “Of the 12 months, we have three big sales during the holidays and the start of summer, where we have almost 20 products on promotion. The other nine months, we have regular sales including five to 10 promoted products.”

The cash counter offers prime real estate for displays, and tempts customers with impulse items on their path to purchase. Forget makes full use of this high-traffic area, but “the problem with the counter is every company wants to be there – you need a big counter. If you want to be seen, it’s the place to be.”

Inventory management is another major focus. He uses a POS scanner, which makes it easy for him to track inventory online, especially when it comes to his three biggest categories – beer, tobacco and lottery. He says SKU management also plays a huge role in keeping his customers satisfied.

“We make sure we always have the products customers want in stock. We try to have enough products every time, and we take note and order a product when customers ask for it.”

Forget says the biggest mistake some owners make is managing their businesses from afar. “You have to be part of your business, and really believe in your business. You have to try to satisfy your profit margins, but your customer is important – when your customer is happy, he’ll be back in your store, and your business will prosper.”

André’s tips for success:

1. Track your sales. Use a POS scanner to manage your inventory. It will allow you to devote the right amount of real estate to your biggest categories.

2. Cash in on your cash counter. Place displays throughout your store, especially at the cash, where customers are most likely to take notice.

3. Ask your FSD reps for advice about merchandising and ensure you know about the latest promotions they have to offer.