By Deborah Jackson, editor National Liquor News
This year, ALSA's Study Tour group went to Japan for an intensive seven days of exploring the country's convenience and luxury channels. The group included representatives from ALM, Liquor Barons, Porter’s Liquor and Cellarbrations, along with the inaugural winner of the ALSA Young Retailer of the Year, Krystal Hall from BWS.
Krystall Hall (far right) on the ALSA Study Tour of Japan
We caught up with Hall to talk about being named Young Retailer of the Year and to find out what key learnings she brought back from Japan.
"It's a tremendous honour (to be named Young Retailer of the Year) and I'm grateful to have been chosen among so many other deserving candidates. I'm thankful to ALSA and all involved for extending this opportunity my way. I'm also grateful for the support of my team in-store, everyone at BWS and our suppliers without whome I could have never achieved this."
According to Hall, the Japan tour was "incredible" and she says she was able to bring back with her some ideas that she will be working to implement within her BWS store.
"Travelling around Japan, I learnt a lot about convenience liquor stores as well as how popular the gifting trend is locally. It was wonderful to see the pride Japanese staff take in the layout and design of their stores and presentation of products. Premium customer service plays a huge role in the experience in-store for shoppers, with staff providing a very personalised, warm service to customers.
"I learnt a lot on my travels and am talking to my managers at BWS about positive improvements we could bring to our business. In my store, I've used my experience as an opportunity to encourage staff to take our customer service to the next level and really engage the local community. We're also adjusting our layouts and presentation of products to make them more eye-catching and create more space for the customer."
The ALSA Study Tour group visited a number of retail outlets across Tokyo and Kyoto as well as receiving presentations from local beer, wine and spirits suppliers. The tour group will present its findings at this year’s ALSA Conference starting on 24 July.
For more from Young Retailer of the Year, Krystal Hall, see the May edition of National Liquor News.