In January I was interested to read an article in The Guardian by James Tapper writing about how Butchers are being affected by the Vegan Trend and how many people are moving towards a lifestyle or how many people are cutting their meat intake, such as taking part in meat-free Mondays.
In his article, James wrote about the large number of butchers closing but he also gave other examples of butchers who have stepped outside the box of the traditional butcher’s shop with its fake grass and striped aprons.
Butchers on the high street are another service in the retail industry that in the main seems to have suffered the generation gap of working out how to manage their customers and how the change in shopping habits affect how you need to sell your products differently. They have suffered because many have not moved on and still try and run a butchers in the same way a butchers was run before the big supermarkets stepped in.
In order to increase their sales and be the go-to place they need to stop relying on the traditional shopping practices of someone just walking through the door.
Take a local butchers
Let’s take the local butchers in the town in which my Mum and Dad live. Everyone was very excited when this new venture opened just a few short years ago. However, as per most small retailers, they seem to run their businesses as if the high street butchers is the only place that people have to buy meat.
But here is what I have observed and here are just some ideas that could help.
Be open, this shop is closed Monday, closed Wednesday afternoon, closed Sundays. People don’t accept this now. When they want to buy they want to buy.
Have a shit hot website. I still today, have to shake my head at every crap website and the lack of investment people make in them. People don’t wander around a high street and fall across a shop. People do their research. If your website is shit then people believe the product is shit and they will move on.
Get it online. You can not, can not, can not rely on foot traffic. People want the convenience of buying online. They want their shopping delivered next day and they can buy from all over the country which means you can sell all over the country with an amazing online store.
Use Social Media. Just look at Salt Bae. He has become a viral sensation because he used social media to show the world his eccentric love of meat and all things butchery. Use Instagram, Facebook and YouTube to show people everything they need to know about butchery and meat. Show you know what you are talking about. They need to earn your trust. They will never be able to do this through the pound of mince they buy weekly.
The most important point, create multiple streams of income. Again I have said several times in this post already. Way too many butchers rely on selling in the traditional sense which creates a single source of income and puts a huge burden on the business and those people who don’t seem to be walking through the door.
Whilst a lot of people are turning to a meat-free life, many people are also turning to specialised meat diet’s. Paleo and Keto. Cater to these people. They spend a lot of money on good quality, organic, grass-fed meat.
Create your own products, such as bone broth, meat rubs, stuffing, sauces, pies. With your own products, you have the chance to sell through other channels, to expand your product line.
Whilst you need to focus a lot of your business away footfall. You still want people to walk through the door, so find ways to get them to do that. For example, Bone Broth is hot right now. It has all kinds of health benefits. So create your own, but don’t just sell them in plastic pouches, sell hot bone broth that people can a cup of hot bone broth on their way to work or for lunch.
Create partnerships and products together, team up with the local wine shop and greengrocers and create a weekly Sunday lunch box or barbecue boxes.
Create loyal fans and show them your skills, hire a catering venue and team butchery courses and use social media to show the results and build on it. Then create a partnership with a knife company
Create pop-up shops and show them the quality of your meat. Have a barbecue outside your shop, take and cook your products in the local business or industrial parks.
It doesn’t have to be rocket science
I am not an expert in butchery but I can see outside the box or the walls of a butchers shop. This is not a limited list and I know it is very specific to butchery but in your own world of business, you have to think of the transferable ideas. How can you step outside the walls of your own business and look in a different direction to everyone else?
There are a few simple things that can help you stand out.
Have a good website. It does make a difference.
Don’t just sell to people walking through a door, create a powerful online presence.