Taking on new branches and new tech

Taking on new branches and new tech

Experienced Postmaster Steve Bassett is embracing technology in his five Londis convenience stores and is seizing opportunities to open brand new Post Office branches.

Steve has run Abbotsbury Road mains Post Office in Weymouth for more than 25 years, but he is not resting on his laurels.

In November he opened brand new Taunton Road Post Office in Bridgwater and only a month later, opened Oaktree Road Post Office in Southampton. Both are local branches. Steve also has plans in the pipeline for another branch.

Finalist for Best Use of Technology

The entrepreneur is now a finalist in the 2019 Convenience Retail Awards, Best Use of Technology category, for changes he’s made at Oaktree Road both online and in store:

  • The Oaktree Road store Facebook page has the Post Office logo in the store’s profile picture, to boost awareness of the new Post Office.
  • Offers are promoted online and Facebook posts engage customers.
  • Self-service kiosks for retail purchases installed, so customers are served quickly.
  • Making in-store advertising screen displays fresh and relevant, by changing adverts to suit the time of day. For instance, alcohol is never promoted at breakfast time! They use a range of lunchtime meal deals and other promotions.
  • A clever phone app with search function tells customers where to find products in store. And a smartphone product scanner helps customers pay quickly at the till.

Steve said: “We could have introduced the final stage of paying via the app, but we decided to stop short of doing that, otherwise the customer would have no engagement with any of our staff, even at the till.”

Communities welcome new branches

As a long-serving Postmaster, Steve knows first-hand that Post Offices are at the heart of communities. This is why he has already taken the opportunity to open two extra branches, to the delight of local residents and workers.

As Steve’s stores and Post Offices are open early until late seven days a week, he’s encouraging customers to do free cash withdrawals there, especially as one of the ATM providers is now charging for withdrawals.

Steve said: “The communities have really welcomed the opening of these new Post Offices. It is also good news for me, as I know that people who come in to use the Post Office are likely to make retail purchases at the same time, boosting sales.”

Steve’s 3 tips

  • Get a Facebook and Instagram presence - its free!

  • Check your Google Maps entry is up to date. 
  • Entering awards gets you thinking about what you are doing and could do better. It also gets you talking to other people and learning new ideas constantly.

The finalists of the Convenience Retail Awards, including Steve, have been invited to an awards ceremony and dinner in London in mid-March.