Ice cream, Uber Eats and birthday cards

15 September 2020

I understand that all Chamber members are doing it tough. Owners and operators are facing unprecedented challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic. So, here is a good news story about a VACC member, which includes some tips that may benefit your own business.

A ray of sunshine snuck through storm clouds recently, revealing how a VACC fuel retailer has turned his business around. This member, while wanting to remain anonymous, asked VACC to share his story in case other members could benefit from his actions.

Firstly, he paid attention to his service station’s retail food service, whereby he made sure his kitchen fired up for permitted workers and residents within the 5 kilometre restriction zone.

The small business fuel retailer focused on the top 75 percent of the popular lines sold in his shop and advertised them online. Revenue jumped.

The member also dramatically increased the sale of eggs, milk, bread, energy drinks, chocolates, sweets, biscuits, health and beauty, phone chargers, and the list goes on. Simply put, his local customers want to limit the time they spend in supermarkets.

These few lines are now roughly 35 to 45 percent of his daily shop sales. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is a top seller and pet food is his saviour.

At times, Uber Eats and Menulog run promotions with discounts and free delivery and the VACC member takes advantage of these deals to increase margins.

In August, their Uber Eats and Menulog food sales were up just over $20,000. 

Recently, Uber Eats and Ben & Jerry’s ran a special promotion on their ice creams. Over two days, ice cream sales reached $800 – not bad for a small fuel retailing business just coming out of a cold and bleak Melbourne winter.

The member is now promoting and engaging their local resident customers to make up birthday and special occasion food and sweet orders, whereby they add a special note or message to the recipient of the small gifts. This was started recently and, while not overwhelming at this stage, the member believes it will catch on like their other simple initiatives. They are now placing birthday cards in the gift pack because customers began asking for the service, saying they didn’t want to breach travel restrictions to fetch a birthday card.

To all members, keep your chin up and, as spring breaks, nurture your business’ green shoots.

Words: VACC CEO, Geoff Gwilym

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