Kasia, what do you think sets your shop apart from others?
You have to be interested in your customers and get to know them and their needs. I place some orders specially on customer request. Recently, a customer wanted a certain wine that he’d tried somewhere – one I don’t normally have in my assortment. So I ordered the wine for him, and now he keeps coming back to buy it here. Another customer, a pregnant woman, was looking for cold-pressed carrot juice. When you order from me today, the product is here tomorrow.
How have you experienced the time of the pandemic?
During the strictest lockdown phase, you were only allowed to go shopping and then straight back home. That was a really exhausting time – I worked practically 24/7. It was pretty crazy here. People were afraid of going to the big stores. I usually get about 400 customers a day, but during the lockdown it was up to 1,000. Only 5 people were permitted to be in the store at once, so they were queuing up all the way around the house.
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We’re open Monday to Saturday from 7 in the morning to 7 in the evening, Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. So my life partner and an employee and I were all in the shop from morning to evening. Then, at night, we drove to MAKRO to stock up again. Fortunately, the MAKRO store in Wroclaw is open 24 hours, and products had been set aside specially for us Odido shop owners, to ensure our supply. During that time, I only got maybe 2 or 3 hours of sleep per night.
How did MAKRO support you in that phase?
I speak with my MAKRO partner manager every other day anyway. In the course of Covid-19, our exchange intensified. During the lockdown, there was also a satisfaction survey every 2 weeks. And MAKRO set up a website with my contact details that my customers could use to pre-order their purchases or have the goods delivered to them. Then, every 2 days I went to all of my older customers with a box full of everything they needed. We still offer the pre-ordering and packing service, but now for pick-up by the customer – and it’s still being used.
Do you believe that people have come to appreciate retailers like you even more during this phase?
Yes, a lot of the customers that came for the first time during the lockdown for bigger purchases are still coming back. They’re still doing their main weekly shopping here. I think a lot of them realise that they really can get everything at my shop. At a discounter, you can’t just go in and place a special order.
The professional appearance, promotional flyers and bargain prices, for example. The website and advertising materials help me to gain more customers. And I get consultation through my MAKRO partner manager on a whole range of topics. I also take part regularly in MAKRO initiatives. In ‘Handel Jest Kobietą’ [translates to ‘Retail is a woman’ – a networking initiative for entrepreneurial women, editor’s note], for instance, my customers could vote for me, and the proceeds went to a facility for people with disabilities. I like being able to give something back to my customers and the community through initiatives like that.
You’re also involved in the community overall – helping at events for people with disabilities, for example.
Right, that’s important to me. I bake waffles for picnics or donate plates and cutlery. But honestly, I take doing these things for granted. As with the business – it’s just part of my life.
How do you see the future of your shop?
We’re doing relatively well, fortunately – which I’m very thankful for. It’s important to me not just to sell things to my customers, but also to provide service. If someone buys a cup of yogurt, I ask if they need a spoon with it. I’ll hold the door open for an older woman or carry her shopping bag for her. Little things like that make the difference.
Products / Consulting
Products that make our customers successful – with 100% quality and a local focus. Plus tailor-made consulting on individual challenges. The Odido franchise format gives owners of small stores a professional presence and helps with marketing and shop design as well as digital solutions.
More about the 6 strategic subject areas in the Annual Report 2019/20.