Final part of business plan

Our local delivery shop has executed the final part of its excellent business plan – it shuts down tomorrow.

This is a real shame – having a local delivery place is very handy. Not something I was used to back home, the ability to have your local supermarket deliver all sorts of things at all times of day is incredibly useful, especially when it comes to heavy stuff such as water, cans of drink and so on.

There was a classic example of a small Dubai delivery place near where we used to live. Their business model was as follows –

– Have a small shop with most of the things customers need at reasonable prices, certainly not more expensive for commodity items than the branded supermarkets.

– Keep longer opening hours than the branded supermarkets.

– Have free delivery, with no minimum order.

– Treat your delivery ‘boys’ well and let them keep the tips they earned.

– Leaflet nearby buildings to advertise the services offered.

This place has been around for years and is still going strong.

I built up a very special bond with the man who answered the phone, during five years of ordering 12 big Masafi bottle, carton soda soda water and litre low fat milk, no, no low fat milk. At first, his grunts down the phone all sounded the same, but after a while I was able to distinguish between ‘hello’, ‘thank you’ and ‘goodbye’ grunts. The delivery time was always ‘five minutes’, which meant anything between ten to twenty, but that was always fine by us, okokokokok.

Let’s contrast this supermarket’s business strategy with the soon-to-be-closed place near us.

– Have a small shop without most of the things customers need, with what is there being sold at ridiculously inflated prices.

– Keep exactly the same opening hours as the more conveniently located and cheaper local branded supermarket.

– Have a minimum order of 15Dhs (about $5USD) and take about 30 minutes to deliver (as opposed to, say, having a small delivery fee for orders that were less than 15Dhs sp that people still ordered small things they needed urgently).

– Have only one delivery ‘boy’ and tell all your customers he’s busy when they ring to order something.

– Never do any marketing or advertising.

Granted, I don’t know what their rent was and I know that our development is far from being fully occupied, so maybe they just didn’t have enough customers in the area to be viable. That might be why they are shutting down, but I can’t help thinking that the reason is that this particular outlet simply wasn’t run very well. Shame.

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