Why a comprehensive spice range matters
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Is there anything more dispiriting than trudging down the same old local supermarket aisle week in, week out, to find the same old plain and simple (quite frankly boring) spices? In such a competitive industry, why would you want to put your customers through this same mundane monotony? There was a time when spices and herbs brought an exotic flair and genuine excitement to our dinner tables. Today, if we’re in the business of spices, then the products we stock ought to reflect that.
In a market that’s been dominated by large all-consuming supermarket chains, to be successful now you really have to stand out and turn your shop into an experience. That means giving customers a reason to keep coming back for more. While they can find cayenne pepper and basil in just about any chain store up and down the country, it’s your responsibility to provide them with a special something that’s memorable and unique. You can’t compete with the supermarkets on a general level because they stock cheap (often poor quality) spices. Going niche is your advantage – it’s how you stand out.
Knowing your customers and building up a relationship is key to servicing them. Right now, with the cost of living crisis in full effect, people are no longer heading out to eat – they’re cooking at home, from scratch. With this increase in home cooks, it’s no surprise to find more consumers on the hunt for interesting flavours. Whether they’re looking to repeat their favourite meal from a holiday abroad or copying a recipe they tried last week with a meal box company such as Hello Fresh or Gousto, interesting spices, spice blends and herbs are all the rage right now. The more diverse and interesting your stock, the more appealing you become.
Of course, how you present all of this stock matters too. It’s another way you can outmanoeuvre larger supermarket chains. Remember – the same old mundane spice aisle is boring. In your shop, you can create a space that’s enjoyable to be in with multiple layers and presentations on different levels. A great way to do this would be with wall-mounted spice racks or clipstrips. Just the thrill of sifting through so many different products that they can’t find in a supermarket is enough reason to return – much like an avid reader who uncovers a book shop filled with rare 1st editions that can’t be found anywhere else.
On top of this, think about what else you’re stocking. Why not display and sell cookbooks too? Within these cookbooks are niche and interesting spices that will pique their interest – niche and interesting spices that you can then sell to them.
All of this combines to position yourself as the expert. They can’t find you in a supermarket store and that’s the key differential. It’s no secret that home cooks and foodies are loyal customers who appreciate and tend to build strong relationships with their suppliers. Once you’ve piqued their interest with a hard-to-find or relatively unknown spice, you’ll be marked down as a reliable, well-informed supplier who clearly knows their stuff. And of course, word of mouth spreads fast these days!