Late Stop Bangor has not been intimidated by the presence of a Morrisons Supermarket across the road, and has successfully used our Basket home delivery service to build their share of the local convenience market. Bangor is normally a vibrant student town, but lockdowns kept students at home.
During Covid lockdowns the team reinvigorated sales by introducing Basket to allow local residents to order directly from the store. There were no students during the period, so it was introduced to help permanent residents get the items they needed during the lockdowns.
Mr Bipin Chawla runs the Independent 24-hour store supplying visitors, residents and students in the city. Situated on the busy Holyhead Road, the store has a smart black sign bearing “The Times” logo along with the store name and advertorial posters to let shoppers know they can grab a hot coffee. The store is only 1,700 sq feet, with two sections, front and back, divided by a central wall.
To the left upon entering the store, customers can select a F’real milkshake or choose from the wide drinks selection in the chiller. Two large, open fronted chillers flank the left-hand side of the store with sandwiches, pasties and snacks and soft drinks. One side of the half-height centre console is stocked with confectionery and the other with newspapers, magazines and a small, grab and go display of fresh, ready to eat fruit. Behind the newspapers lies an entire wall of crisps and snacks. A hot drinks machine with accompanying snacks to the left of the counter. The counter is situated on the right-hand side of the room, near the door, with a display of alcohol behind and a less prominent tobacco cabinet to the side where it doesn’t take up valuable display space.
With a high proportion of students in the area for much of the year, Mr Chawla took advice from his student son and doesn’t charge for deliveries. This has proven to be a winning strategy and has won the store orders from all around their local area. Basket allows the store to add a small percentage on top of the regular price to ensure the process remains profitable whilst still appealing to customers.
Online orders aren’t restricted to any specific demographic – but Mr Chawla notes with amusement that young people will order from the nearest addresses, asking for items to be delivered just a few doors away! The store also delivers regularly to the wards of the local hospital, whose staff and patients may not always find it easy to get out for themselves.
The Basket service is promoted in-store with the team speaking to customers about home deliveries and encouraging them to download the app ready for when it is needed. The team will begin a new campaign in September when a new influx of students will begin to need their services. Mr Chawla believes that leaflets handed over the counter – especially with an explanation – are more effective in communicating a new service than a door to door drop.
Additionally, the store has a good presence on Facebook with nearly two thousand followers. One of their recent videos has gone viral with more than 15k watches! It has even been picked up by local and national press which brought the store more attention. The video was obtained by the store’s smart security system and helped identify a repeat offender thief! Of course, this all helps to promote the store and their services; the store feel it is crucial to have an online presence to promote online selling and plan to expand their presence onto Instagram too.
The home delivery service perfectly complements the excellent service offered by this family firm in the high street and means they are ready to explore the possibilities of targeting new markets.