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What you can learn from the smallest ASDA in the world and Tinned Tuna

by | 05/07/2017 | Business Skills, Doing Business, Marketing, Training

I used to live in Girvan, it is a small seaside town in the West Coast of Scotland. Not a lot of big employers and not a wealthy area.

About 10 years ago, Asda finally got planning permission to build in this town and they started building the smallest Wal-Mart store in the world. We had all the bigwigs over from America, all closely watching this tiny Asda,  flying executives in from all over the world to show them how they can run a profitable supermarket in a fraction of the normal floorspace, after all, bigger is better right?

How would a company that stocked tens of thousands of lines get all the products into this teeny weeny store? After all, the main Asda in the next town had 5 shelves just for Tuna alone? As a business person I was definitely curious.

What followed I can only describe as the best stock rotation on earth. Somehow this tiny store managed to sell pretty much all of the brands but from just half of one shelf – so lean in while I tell you how.

We start at the beginning of the month, people had been paid and were doing the “big shop”. This week the Tuna was all multipacks and premium brands, and also bang at eye height. Second week and third week of the month we saw Asda’s own brand multipacks and the premium cans in singles, and they moved either up or down a shelf as other products moved into the premium spot. Last week of the month it was Asda own brand and smart price only – and you’d find them right down at ankle level.

Those Tuna cans moved around at night switching position from the middle to the end of the shelf, up a shelf, down a shelf, in the Stockroom, back out onto the shop floor, it was like a ballet.

And after noticing this pattern, I started seeing it every month. And not just the Tuna but the squash, and the biscuits, and the frozen food – everywhere where there were a mix of alternative substitute products.

One of my biggest business mantras is don’t reinvent the wheel. If big companies with big budgets to spend on researching the tiny intricacies of consumer behaviour do something – then they do it because it works.

So I sat and thought about that Tuna. Each week Asda continued to offer the core product (Tuna) but in a manner that matched the feeling and price point that best suited their customers that day. 

What Asda knows that you can’t make a hardup mum spend £5 on a mulitpack of tuna 2 days before payday – so you give them what they want, even if it’s a lower value sale, because they know that that mum won’t suddenly find a fiver for extra sparkly tuna, they’ll just go and buy baked beans instead.

And so I apply the same logic to Sand Art. If I’m at a premium event and it’s twenty pound notes flying everywhere, I’ll put away the mini pictures and the ovals, and limit the offering to A5 and A4.  If we’re at an event like a school fayre and everything is 50p or £1, I’ll put away the A4 and the A5s, and focus on Ovals and A6.  You see, Asda’s Tuna taught me that there is no point putting the premium product in the prime selling space if people are just after the cheap alternative.

In Kids Bee Happy sand art you have a while range of products with sales prices all along the scale from £2 to £10, so think about what products will best suit your events and customers THAT day, and select and display your products accordingly.