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RETAIL & WHOLESALE
PROVIDING EXCELLENT CUSTOMER
SERVICE AND A HIGH LEVEL
OF STAFF TRAINING WILL BE
INSTRUMENTAL TO THE SUCCESS
OF 9/11 IN 2016.
WHAT WILL BE YOUR MAIN
FOCUS IN 2016?
Customer research and understanding what
our customers want is an exercise that we will
be undertaking throughout 2016. This will be
done through a series of store exit interviews,
small focus groups and online surveying. It's
our aim to know more about the retail liquor
customer than anyone in Tasmania. Customer
service will be a focus, particularly through our
recently launched service philosophies (meet the
customer where they are at; if it can happen for
our customer we will make it happen for our
customer; and be part of the service team). Our
staff developed these philosophies and they will
form the basis of our customer service push.
Reinvesting back into our sites to ensure we
have a contemporary offer and improving the
customer experience across our whole portfolio
will also be a focus.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST
DIFFICULTIES FACING 9/11?
The downward pressure on pricing and the
subsequent battle to maintain margins and
profitability in a highly competitive business will
always be difficult. At the end of the day, we need
to make money – that’s why we are in business –
and as a result, more and more of our decisions
will be in line with providing profitable solutions
to customer needs and less about trying to
support every supplier all the time. The regulatory
environment and the anti-alcohol lobby continue
to be a concern. Finding quality people to join
our organisation as we continue to expand is also
proving to be difficult.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL
BE THE BIGGEST TRENDS
I think you will see some of the trends that
emerged in 2015 continue to grow. Prosecco
continues to build off a low base. International
wine from both established and emerging regions
is something that our customers are keen to
explore. Premium whisk(e)y and gin will continue
to gain momentum. However, I think the hunt for
genuine craft and products with providence will
really start to grow to the next level. For us, that
means our relationship with the Tasmanian beer,
wine, spirit and cider industry will continue to be
very important to our success.
HOW DO YOU PLAN TO
OFFER IN 2016?
Our people, our knowledge of customer and
our customer service will be our points of
differentiation. We are recruiting our front line
people in a different way, it's no longer a priority
to have industry experience, rather an attitude
that we know will lead to a customer friendly
employee. We have faith that our training
process will ensure that we give our people all
of the tools they require to give good advice and
better customer experiences. Our knowledge of
our customer, and in particular the Tasmanian
customer, and even more particularly, the
customer who lives within five kilometres of our
stores, will help us to make better decisions when
it comes to range, promotion and matching our
people to the appropriate sites.
WHAT PROMOTIONS CARRY
MOST WEIGHT IN 9/11?
When it comes to promotional activity we are
very much in the instant gratification camp.
In fact, we avoid any promotional execution
that involves ‘enter the draw to win’ style
mechanics. Our customers have told us loud
and clear that a good gift with purchase (GWP)
is something they like. We find that gift with
product and glassware always work well and as
a business we only do activity that is exclusive
to us. Price as a promotional tool still has a
role to play and a combination of everyday
value, late week specials and exclusive pricing
activity has served us well. Of course, it does
differ a bit by category and as an independent
it is obviously difficult, if not impossible, to
be competitive on price and still maintain a
reasonable margin. This will be something we
have to work on through 2016.
DO YOU FEEL INDEPENDENT
MORE SUPPORT FROM
The one word answer is yes. I continually
hear from many suppliers how important the
independent trade is to them but to be frank I
don’t see a lot of change in behaviour. Providing
opportunities for well-organised independent
retailers to compete on an even playing field is
essential to the longevity of independent business.
Opportunities such as exclusive products and
packs at acceptable margins, introducing new
products through the independent channel and
investing in quality key account management
support would be a great start. I'm not alone in
saying that suppliers who make genuine headway
in these areas will get well supported.
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