Since 2009, Mrs. Yu has been the manager of a SPAR Hypermarket. She
told deliver high quality service is always top of my mind. We are
always thinking of the food needs of our customers. We can sense
whether our customer is satisfied with our service or not, even
when they do not speak. We can judge by their eyes and
How did you become a store
manager at SPAR?
I found my first position as a cashier in Jiajiayue
Supermarket in 1998. After graduating from school, I became head of
that department and was assistant store manager in Qilu Store and
Tongcheng Store, in June 2002 and September 2003 respectively.
What have you learnt and
enjoyed in these past seven years?
As a qualified store manager my experience working in the
store has taught me to be both knowledgeable and willing to learn.
Good customer service and better understanding of the customer are
the success factors of the store. Not only do I learn every day
about retailing and related information, I also learn from my
colleagues, my staff and my customers.
Can you tell us something
about the development of the store?
The store was opened on 30 October, 2000. It now has a
sales area of 780m2. We adopted a stepped management approach:
Store Manager-Head of department-Staff Members. In future, we plan
to provide quality service, product ranges for customers, and
continuously work on store operation and innovation.
Do you have special skills
in dealing with your customers?
Quality service means we should exceed their expectations
and be ready to serve at any time. For example, in the food to go
department when a customer has bought food, we give them a pair of
chopsticks before they ask. I actively greet our regular customers.
We talk about their shopping habits and preferences. I also ask for
their ideas and suggestions where we can improve.
Where is your store
Our store is in the Shandong Weihai Economic Development
Zone,where transportation is easily available. Two Asian retailers
are our closest competitors. Nearby our store and the coastline is
the Weihai Ocean Park, a great place to relax. During the summer it
is visited by many tourists. The Park includes an amusement area,
an artificial park, Eco-forests, a bathing beach and a travellers
resort area. In the tourist season water, soft drinks, casual
snacks and local specialties such as stewed sea fish, Chinese
pancake dumpling, prawn paste, roasted oyster and clams, are the
Tell us about the specialty
A self-service steamed bread departmentand and a vegetable
department are two of the more unique features in the store. The
pasta department offers a large variety of hand-made foods, as well
as local specialty pastas. Catering to local residents and
customers' demand, the vegetable department offers pre-packaged,
environmentally friendly products.
Preparing food by hand using flour
is one of our traditions. On the 15th day of the Chinese Lunar New
Year, people make the 12 animals of the year. When elderly people
celebrate their birthday, the family will make peach-shaped steam
bread symbolizing wishes for a long life.
Can you tell us some more
about the local food?
Fish and seafood is a very important department for us and
we offer a broad range. We advise customers that whatever they want
they can have! Fig is one of the most famous fruits, being rich in
several enzymes, proteins and mineral elements. We make a special
food called 'daughter-inlaw pancake'. It used to be made only at
weddings but now it is eaten all the time. Other local foods are
cherries, fig wine and nuts.
Please describe your
In the morning, our shoppers are usually retired senior
citizens living nearby. In the afternoon the majority of shoppers
are workers in organizations, primarily government employees who
are very loyal to us.
Please share the shopping
pattern of your customers with our readers.
Fresh products and basic living necessities are the good
sellers. As for private brands, SPAR instant noodles are popular
here; customers comment positively on the flavours, quality and
How would you describe
yourself as a manager?
I not only endeavor to achieve the budget
and various key performance indicators, but as a
Hypermarket store manager I also run things with a firm hand, which
is not easy. More skills and knowledge are required, since product
ranges and categories are much wider than those in a supermarket.
There is more staff to manage; more work to be done and greater
responsibilities. All of this requires better working techniques,
better communication skills and co-coordinating ability.
Can you describe why it's
nice to be a SPAR store manager?
I would like to tell about a 'difficult' customer who
regularly bought only a little meat, one green onion and 1/4 of
cabbage. At that time these were products sold in bulk which made
her shopping list difficult for us to fulfill. But we assisted her
and always greeted her with a smile. At a certain moment she
suggested that we pack only two onions in a bag and sell them for a
little more than the ones we sold in bulk. We matched the
suggestion to our customer profile and developed many packed
products. Now we greet each other as old friends.