Customer convenience sees fine food and drink retailer win big with late openings

Launched in 2013, Shop Small is designed to encourage shoppers to support small and independently-owned businesses in the run up to Christmas through national advertising and by rewarding American Express Cardmembers for shopping small. 

With Christmas just a few days away, we talked to Ludovic Piot, the owner of award-winning deli Epicerie Ludo, to find out more about how he found this year’s Shop Small campaign and what he’s doing to draw people in to the deli this festive season.

Having worked in the wine and retail industry for over a decade, Epicerie Ludo was born out of Piot’s wish to offer wines and authentic food from France that weren’t readily available in the North West of England.

However, upon realising the market was perhaps too niche, Piot expanded his approach to offer not only French produce but also the best of British food and drink under one roof. The store now focuses on food you couldn’t easily obtain elsewhere. As such, Epicerie Ludo has quickly become a staple part of the high street diet in Manchester, and has even won an award for being the best food and drink retailer in the city.

The company puts a heavy emphasis on customer service, ensuring that its staff work in a quick and efficient manner. “Being a small delicatessen means we are closer to our customers, neighbours, suppliers and the producers of our products,” Piot commented.

But at the forefront of its offering lies its truly astonishing opening hours. The store stays open until 10pm, ensuring it is as convenient as possible for customers.

The rise of 24-hour online shopping has led to retailers wanting to compete by opening for longer at the weekend – and Piot can agree that it’s had a definite impact on the company.

The idea to extend the delis hours is largely due to the influence of living in London, said Piot, who lived there when he first moved to the UK. There, stores had a “penchant for closing later” in order to capitalise on those needing to do their shopping after work. Piot explained that the tactic had worked well for Epicerie Ludo, with the most footfall often being garnered during that time. It also enabled the company to tap further into the alcohol sector. Furthermore, with Christmas almost upon us, the extra opening hours make it for shoppers who have yet to purchase gifts. But that’s not the only thing the company offers this festive season.

“One thing we do throughout the year is to provide bespoke hampers. However, as it’s Christmas, we extended the range to include an increased array of readymade and speciality hampers. Because of the time of year we will highlight cheese and wine/beer pairing hampers, along with Christmas-themed hampers containing Christmas specialities from the UK and Europe.

“As one of the key areas of the business is wine, we have created a December only offer of 15 per cent off when customers buy 12 or more bottles of wine or sparkling wine. This is an additional offer to our year round loyalty card, where we offer ten per cent off all full priced purchases when customers spend £5 or more.

“We offer free paper gift wrapping throughout the year and at Christmas we really try to promote this service. Customers are given the choice of collecting their wrapped gift at a time that suits them. This extends to our hamper collection, as customers can provide us with an indication of a type of hamper they’re looking for, along with a budget, and we will prepare a bespoke hamper ready for collection at a convenient time.”

Small businesses make vital contributions to local economies and communities – and Epicerie Ludo is no different. Piot shares the belief that people need to support their local small businesses and shop small, helping to drive custom to small companies during the busy Christmas shopping period.

Epicerie Ludo took part in this year’s American Express Shop Small campaign. This meant that any American Express Cardmember that spent a minimum of £10 in a single transaction between 5 and 20 December at a participating small business received a £5 statement credit. He also explained that the initiative had meant his business was included on a nationwide Shop Small map, and that he had seen the benefit of the campaign as it enabled him to attract new customers and rewarding existing ones.

It was essential to encourage Brits to shop at small businesses, Piot said, as such firms were more likely to develop partnerships and strengthen ties with people in the neighbourhood. More importantly, he believes that by shopping at a business in your local area, you will most likely stop by other independent retailers in the vicinity. On top of that, some small businesses tend to offer products that are made locally, creating a ripple effect in the local economy.

By supporting small businesses such as Piot’s, British consumers not only have the chance to help preserve the UK high street, but also access a wealth of innovative businesses putting customer service at the forefront.

For more information on Shop Small please visit: https://www.amexshopsmall.co.uk/

Promoter: American Express Services Europe Limited.

Registered office: Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9AX, United Kingdom.

Registered in England and Wales with Number 1833139, American Express Services Europe Limited is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2009 (reference number 415532) for the provision of payment services.

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