Home' National Liquor News : NLN DEC 2016 Contents 36 | DECEMBER 2016 NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS
WHAT LED YOU TO A CAREER IN
I have had more than 10 years of experience in liquor retailing, beginning as a
casual and then onto a permanent position, which all led me to the position I am
in now, as the Liquor Manager looking after three stores. I feel very lucky to have
been given the opportunity to manage Hastings Co-op’s three liquor businesses,
which includes one Bottle-O and two Supa IGA Plus Liquor stores for the past
two years and I was also the manager of the Wauchope store before that.
WHAT DID IT MEAN TO BE NAMED THE IBA
NATIONAL RETAILER OF THE YEAR?
It was just awesome and a real shock. Especially being in the company of
so many reputable stores, many that are much larger than us, was a great
honour. We have received numerous regional and state awards, but winning
the nation’s top industry award is the icing on the cake. We are extremely
proud of this achievement, which is a testament to our staff and the whole
Hastings Co-op family. It’s also a credit to our loyal customers.
WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME SUCCESSFUL
INNOVATIONS IN YOUR STORE?
The Hastings Co-op is a 100-year-old co-operative, with a very successful loyalty
program. This means we regularly have competitions, giveaways, specials and
attractive loyalty rewards. We also have a wine card and in the past customers
have enjoyed samples, tastings and launches in store. Our customers absolutely
love the wine card. It’s something that nobody else does and we’ve run it for 10
years. I would say that eight people out of our 10 locals use them.
In 2015, we also initiated a community event called Twilight Tastings,
which showcases local produce and various suppliers, and it’s like a big
day for the community and run by Wauchope Liquor. We get local produce
people, wineries, spirit and beer reps and last year we had 600 people
through the door. It gives the producers the opportunity to showcase what
they can do, and it gives us the opportunity to showcase what we can sell.
WHAT DO YOU THINK SETS YOUR
Definitely our customer service. We know many of our customers by name
and pride ourselves on going the extra mile. If a customer requests a
certain product, we will try our best to deliver. We encourage a ‘can do’
attitude and are very conscious of the shopper experience.
The fact that we are also a part of the Hastings Co-op Group, which is
100-years-old and has 14 businesses across the Hastings region is another
factor. People know and trust Hastings Co-op and appreciate our ‘locals
supporting local’ approach.
All three of our stores have a nice ambience, are easy to access, have a
good range, convenient parking and are well laid out.
WE CHAT WITH LISA ATTKINS, THE LIQUOR
MANAGER OF THE HASTINGS CO-OP IGA LIQUOR
AND BOTTLE-O . LISA WAS RECENTLY NAMED THE
2016 IBA NATIONAL RETAILER OF THE YEAR.
WHAT PRODUCTS ARE BIG MOVERS?
Craft beer is on the increase and local wines are popular. Obviously the local
wines are popular because we really push the locals. We have two very good
local wineries in the area – Cassegrain and Bago Wines, and the Hunter
Valley is actually classed as local for us too, so even though we are two and a
half hours away, we can actually class them as local.
Up-selling is also popular, a lot of people are up-selling in wine and they
are going up from the $10-$15 to the $15-$20 bottles, which is great. It’s
that premiumisation of wines.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST ISSUES FACING
Competition is always an issue, particularly with larger chains and their
pricing. The larger chains also have larger marketing budgets which can be
hard to compete with as a small co-operative.
We try to see what they don’t have, not so much in stock, but in customer
service. We will carry anything a customer wants to the car and we try and
set ourselves apart from competitors in that way, because sometimes you just
can’t compete with pricing. We have our specials and we have great specials,
but sometimes it’s the more personal things that make the biggest difference.
HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK SOCIAL
MEDIA IS FOR LIQUOR RETAILERS?
If you aren’t using the power of social media already, you’ve missed the boat.
It’s very important to not only let customers know what products and
specials you have, but make them feel connected and more loyal to our
Kelvin Kelly, Lisa Attkins
and Kylie Joseph.
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