An old Doncaster based family bakery business, Cooplands knew it needed to freshen up its proposition and improve its sales performance.

In its 80 year history some of its practices had become old habits which needed changing. It was faring only adequately against its national rival, Greggs and other more local competition.

Wingivers began work with the business in 2010 in a way that grabbed everyone’s attention from the start. We got together a group of store and area managers and a director for a day, split them into small groups and sent them all around Yorkshire on a mission: visit (prearranged) shops and find out what they think is great customer service, how they do it, and the impact on staff and customers.  They returned with some great stories and their eyes wide open to possibilities in their own business.

This created a wave of enthusiasm and energy for the project which never left it. It also introduced a crucial dynamic which lay the ground for success early on: shop managers for the first time felt a sense of inclusion and responsibility in addressing what was clearly a big challenge for the business – how to increase service and sales.

  • Through facilitated discussion groups we uncovered key data which explained the company’s current culture and position:
  • little was made of the company’s brand appeal for family, local and fresh
  • no structured sales training, basic or up selling was being implemented
  • recruitment and induction was haphazard and without any tactical method for finding the right people
  • team spirit in shops was high – and was cited as the main reason people got out of bed in the morning to go to work (our question was about if this positive energy was also being experienced by the customer?)
  • senior and middle management constantly monitored shop sales – which became the default dialogue with shops (often dreaded or silently cursed)

Wingivers responded with a strategy in two main areas:

1. A development programme with three workshop components.
2. A longer term programme for embedding and sustaining the skills and new cultural habits the programme had introduced, which included:

  • training for the middle management group of Area Managers
  • further support for champions to continue their work of embedding new practices and change
  • new approaches to recruitment and induction of people who would be likely to fit into the Cooplands Way
  • ways of monitoring progress in the whole project,

And the results? 
During and immediately after the project, sales experienced an increase across many stores – some dramatically so .Confidence and enthusiasm of many staff and managers was a significant benefit, and at least three people we worked with were encouraged to seek management positions with their renewed confidence and self awareness of their potential.

Wingivers continues to enjoy a lasting relationship with the business and it has led to introductions to other regional retailers within the sector