Balwinder Bhasin took over Corner Stores, in Stoke-on-Trent, just eight weeks before calling the Blueprint team in. Having inherited from the previous owner a poorly displayed alcohol section with no clear layout or use of chilled cabinets, Balwinder’s wholesaler Whitalls Wines put him on to the Blueprint to help turn the section around.
In just two months, Balwinder has seen his total off licence sales soar by 30% and attributes all the success to the help and guidance from the Blueprint team.
He said: “When we took over the store, it was in a complete mess. The alcohol was split throughout the store with beers mixed in with wine, and it was obvious why the previous owners had failed to make a success of it. But we didn’t know where to start so we were more than happy to go with the suggestions of the Blueprint.
“They gave me a list of brands that the Blueprint recommend I stocked which I now use as my picking list when I visit the wholesaler.
“All the staff were trained on how to merchandise according to the Blueprint planograms so after the team left it was very easy to maintain the good work that the Blueprint team had done.”
The team re-merchandised all categories, making good use of the chiller for beers, white and ros eacute; wines and a core selection of ARTDs (alcoholic ready to drinks). Most importantly they created a dedicated off licence section within the store so that all the categories were located in one area so customers could view the entire range at once.
All categories have seen an upturn in sales, especially the beer section. Prior to the Blueprint, Balwinder reported that his customers typically purchased high ABV lagers and therefore overstocked in this area, at the expense of other key brands.
However, he was pleasantly surprised with the influence the Blueprint had on his premium and standard lagers, with customers replacing their usual purchase to try these new lines.
Balwinder explained: “Now we have a dedicated off licence section, customers take the time to browse the entire fixture and can see exactly what we have to offer. This encourages them to try new brands and purchase more. This also has a good influence on the non-alcohol side of the shop as it’s bringing people to the store who top up on groceries at the same time.
“The Blueprint not only works for my customers but works for me and my staff too. I can now easily track what is selling well, what we’re running low on and manage my stock accordingly.
“The Blueprint has helped me get up and running with this new venture, and the team were very helpful and knowledgeable about all the changes they were making. It reassures you that there are people out there willing to help you and make such a difference as the Blueprint has.”