Meet Jon Wakefield, the owner of Pets of Sandgate, an Australian-based retailer that sells pet products for dogs, cats, fish, reptiles, and more. When Jon’s parents opened the store in 2003, he knew that he wanted to own and run it someday.
So, that’s precisely what he did. In 2016, Jon purchased Pets of Sandgate and took over running the store and combined it with his existing website PetsofAustralia.com.au. Since then, he has implemented several changes that improved their sales, customer experience, and productivity.
Because of that, business is thriving. In fact, this year, Pets of Sandgate are on track to grow their bottom line by 60% since the year of Jon’s purchase.
Read on to find out how Jon did it and how you can apply his best practices to your business.
Relocate and declutter the counter
One of the first things that Jon did after taking over the business was replacing the shop’s counter and moving it from the front to the middle part of the store.
According to him, this change opened up the whole front of the store so they could we could fit more products and make it flow a lot better.
Check out the before and after shots below.
In addition to relocating the counter, Jon also decluttered it. “With the old counter, we had the dog treats laid out on it. But with the new one, I didn’t want any clutter, so we kept the dog treats at the front, but in a different, more laid out area.”
“For the first few months the sales for dog treats actually dropped, and I think it was because people were so used to their old location. But once customer realized where they needed to go, sales increased.”
Another move that helped the retailer improve their space? Replacing their POS system. Pets of Sandgate previously used a traditional cash register, but when Jon purchased the shop, he switched to a cloud-based (and sleeker-looking) point of sale solution — Vend.
Instead of a clunky register, they’re now using iPads to ring up sales and manage the business.
Because of this, the store “looks way better and also allowed us to de-clutter the counter area as essentially all the products are right in front of you on an iPad screen now,” Jon said. “We used to have to keep supplier catalogues, price books, and stock take sheets. Comparing the old system to the new system is almost like comparing a horse and buggy to a car with parking senses.”
- Are there any sections or fixtures in your store that should be moved? Look around and see if relocating things would improve the flow of your shop.
- Find ways to declutter. Perhaps you could free up counter space by moving merchandise elsewhere or by using sleeker equipment.
Allocate space based on product performance
Jon took a close look at the company’s sales figures and determined what the top-sellers are. Then he made sure that the store had adequate space for those items.
“The biggest sellers were dog food, treats, and medication. And while they were taking up a fair bit of the store, they weren’t presented in the best possible way. For example, they were placed in the free shelving from the dog food company, which was just over a meter high,” said Jon.
“So I basically did the math on it and worked out how I could make the pet food section more profitable.”
“We had 29 square meters of shelf space for the dog & cat food. With the help of Vend’s reporting features, I calculated that we were taking in $300.00 a month for each square meter in this area. By adding new shelving, I could take it from 4 or 5 level shelves to 6 or 7 levels and increase the space from 29 square meters to 40 square meters,” he continued.
“That would allow us to take in another $3,300.00 a month in this area at a 1.4 markup which would mean we could make an extra $1320.00 profit each month.”
“Replacing the free shelving from pet food companies to the new shelving would be an outlay of $2,276.00. So making this change was a no-brainer, as it would pay for itself under 2 months.”
The investment in better shelving allowed Jon to not only display more products but to also present them more attractively.
“With new shelving, I was able to fit more product in. Items were also displayed better, so we could literally sell more of what we have. Like, we would have a 3-kilogram bag and a 1.5-kilogram bag and the 1.5-kilogram bag was in front of the 3-kilogram bag. It wasn’t attractive for someone to just pick it up off the shelf. Now everything is set in front of you, easy to take off and that led to more sales.”
Jon also reduced store space dedicated to slow-movers. Sales for aquariums and related products, for instance, have dipped 20-25% in Australia. Because of this, they’ve allocated less space for those items.
- Go through your retail reports and identify your top selling products.
- Once you know what your best sellers are, devote adequate space so you can attractively display more of those items.
- Got some slow-movers? See if you can cut back on space to make more room for your profitable products.
Adjust store hours
One other change that Jon implemented? He shortened their store hours by about 6 hours a week.
“Previously we were open from 8:30 until 5:30 each day on weekdays; then from 8:30 until 5:00 on Saturday, and 10 til 5 on Sunday. But I went into Vend, and I worked out hourly how much we were actually making in those hours,” he shared.
“It turned out that between 8:30 and 9 o’clock, we weren’t making enough money to cover wages. So we changed our operating hours, and now we’re open from 9:00 to 5:30 on weekdays, and then from 8:30 until 4 on Saturdays. Then on Sundays, we’re only open until 3pm.”
While this move didn’t lead to a direct increase in sales, it did allow the business to be more efficient with resources, and that was a good thing for the overall bottom line.
- Look at your sales per hour to determine if your revenue during certain times can compensate for expenses. If not, you might want to consider adjusting your store hours accordingly.
- For instance, if you start selling in the morning but aren’t making enough revenue to cover operating costs, you could decide to open a bit later.
Final words (and advice!)
Hopefully, the pointers in this post gave you some ideas that you could implement in your business. And when you do decide to take action, don’t forget to document everything. That’s what Jon did, and it gave him a better understanding of how his strategies affected the business.
He said, “everything I’ve done in the store, any changes I’ve made, I’ve listed with the date, so if there is a jump or a decline sales, can look back and see if it could have been something that had affected it at that time. I know exactly that timeline of what we’ve done.”
We encourage you to do the same.
Good luck and happy retailing!
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.