Stemming the tide

Do you lose customers by not stocking the items they need, or should you not stock certain items because customers are not coming to your outlet anyway. What comes first, the ebb or the flow? And can you change the tide?

My local baker isn’t sure either. When I first came to Germany shops weren’t even open on a Saturday afternoon. Now my local supermarket is open til 8pm on a Saturday. The sublet bakery has the same opening hours. But are the shops teeming with shoppers til 8pm? No. After lunchtime customer flows ebb quickly. By later afternoon they’ve reduced to a trickle. By 7pm there’s a flash flood of distress purchase, people buying in beer or snacks for a party. Shift workers stocking up for the Sunday. The forgetful desperately looking for bread.

Bread? Well there’s the baker. Forget it. The shelves are loosely stocked with bare necessities. As below. I sneaked this picture on my mobile nearly FOUR HOURS before closing time!

Bad Baker?

Bad Baker?

I once asked where all the bread was. “Why should we keep baking bread, nobody comes in now anyway?” Er. because if people knew you were the only baker in this part of town still stocked with bread, you’d enjoy a regular tide of visitors.

In the UK this would be still be spring tide. Hordes of shoppers shop on Saturday afternoon. Why? Well maybe because the shops are stocked to the brim, and there’s still plenty of bread for everyone…

Alex Woodruff

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