British Corner Shop – Our Service Explained
Traditionally our business was created to bring British Happiness to lovers of British food living all around the world
Traditionally our business was created to bring British Happiness to lovers of British food living all around the world. However, living in the UK ourselves and seeing first-hand how important it is to help people stay at home during the Coronavirus outbreak, we have chosen to adapt the way we operate to help support both those at home and abroad as much as we can.
We have been continuously working on ways to ensure we’re able to provide a reliable service while experiencing this unprecedented level of demand. Changes we’ve made so far include;
- Initiating a heavy recruitment drive for warehouse staff
- Re-evaluating how we buy our stock
- Providing a safe environment for staff to work in
- Making improvements to our website and other systems to deal with the rapid increase in traffic
How we can support those in the UK
Before the Coronavirus outbreak began, UK orders typically consisted of either food parcels people sent abroad to loved ones or orders for a few items they couldn’t find in their local supermarket. However, in this new environment, there are many ways we can provide UK customers with a better online service than what the larger supermarkets are currently able to offer.
- As we are traditionally an export company, we have great relationships with our courier partners, and so can offer a door to door service anywhere in the UK This means there is no need for customers to wait for delivery slots to become available or worry about being within a supermarket’s catchment area.
- As we are a smaller business, we can buy stock from a multitude of different places. Meaning we have a core line of 3,000 items that are readily available.
- Our website is simple to use, and delivery is currently faster than ordering from the supermarkets.
However, despite these advantages, there is one aspect of shopping from us that inevitably gets flagged by potential UK customers – product prices.
Our product prices have always been higher than you would pay in any UK supermarket, (for reasons which we talk about below). However, for some people who were unaware of our service before the crisis, we understand it may look like we have dramatically increased our product pricing to profit from those who are desperate to get their groceries delivered online.
This is not the case. None of our products prices have changed in response to this increased demand. So, we think it’s important to explain the reasoning behind our pricing to assure people that we are not taking advantage of the current situation.
- Buying Power – due to the size of major UK supermarket chains (such as Tesco and Sainsburys), they can buy the products they need far cheaper than we can. Therefore, in many cases supermarkets can often sell a product for less than we can buy it for, preventing us from being able to compete on price and survive as a business. The margins we make are comparable to supermarkets, but when it comes to product price it would be fairer to compare us to the prices you see in your local corner shop.
- Packaging – as we use a courier service to deliver our orders to the UK and around the world, we invest much more heavily in our packaging materials. This is to ensure the products can survive being shipped through a courier system that does not always look after the goods as well as you do when you are taking your shopping home.
- Delivery – as most of our business is typically international, we have always used a courier service rather than our own vans and drivers. Delivery via courier can be expensive, and we subsidise this cost (often quite heavily) so our service can remain a viable one for our customers in all countries – an overhead that will be much larger for us than the supermarkets.
- Pricing Techniques – historically, supermarkets were forced to charge a minimum amount for any one product. However, these regulations have now been relaxed, and supermarkets can now charge as little as they want. This means many supermarkets drastically drop the price of certain core lines (known as ‘loss leaders’), to entice the customer to buy, and then go on to purchase other items at their usual price.
A business of our size is not able to compete at this level, so often a direct comparison of product prices can be deceiving and imply we’re significantly more expensive than we are.
Although we cannot currently compete with the supermarkets on price for the reasons mentioned above, providing a high quality, reliable service is something we are able to control and it’s getting this premium service that ensures the majority of our customers are happy to pay that little bit extra to buy from us.
As our business continues to grow, we have put a lot of emphasis on developing our relationships with key brands. This is so we are in a good position to gain better pricing as soon as our order volumes become big enough.
We have seen a huge uplift in business over the last 2 months and have already seen an improvement in our buying power with some brands as a result. Any savings we make in this area we will, of course, pass on to our customers as we continue to grow.