We have a local supermarket that we only visit in a food emergency. Do you have one like this? You don’t shop there regularly, as you get both better deals and better service elsewhere.


This particular shop is a disgrace. It’s many years since I worked in the retail industry, but even what I learned then if put into practice now would radically alter the shopping experience of customers. When you walk in the door, you can’t help but notice that the windows have been cleaned, but the aluminium surrounds have possibly never been touched with a cleaning product. The curled up welcome mat should be binned. The basket holders are invariably empty, prompting to you collect one from the nearest overflowing stack at a closed till. They once had a competition to win a TV, which was perched on the only available table they could get their hands on – the one with the wonky leg from the staff canteen no doubt – you daren’t get too close incase it fell on you. The floor is manky, and I mean proper filthy. I remember an Assistant Manager in another chain in the 1990’s having us nightfill boys on our hands and knees with scrapers ensuring the floor was free of random debris, dirt, stickers and chewing gum – this local shop almost seems to wear this detritus as a badge of honour.

I could go on…

Why has this shop let itself go so much? When it opened it was beautifully presented. Does the store manager not walk their floor? Do they think customers don’t notice? I think the answer to the problem is simple: complacency.

They are the only reasonably large supermarket for 8 miles. They rely on the fact that a lot of locals either can’t or won’t travel the distance to their nearest competitor.

Well, I’ve bad news for them. They’ve started building work this week on their newest competitor, and it’s in the same town. Time to up your game, I think. Anyone who is that complacent deserves to go out of business.

Ask yourself this: are you constantly trying to ensure you meet the needs of your customers? Are you providing the best service you can? If not, your competitors are getting closer – in some cases, quite literally.

Image credit: Mary Hutchison.

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