Independent Retailers CAN compete with multiples! by @ScottGStorey of @CTSRetail #IndieRetail

Now we are over 3 weeks into Independent Retailer Month, it has got me thinking how 2011 could be the turning point for many smaller retailers. Thanks to lower cost bases, independent retailers really can make innovative improvements to their offering, much quicker than their larger counterparts. Here’s how… 

The High Street is a totally different marketplace than it was five years ago

The High Street is a totally different marketplace than it was five years ago and being a top brand just doesn’t have the same power as it used to. Look at all the brands that have disappeared in recent months or have faced difficulties. The truth is that size doesn’t protect you from the threat of closure, in fact it probably makes it more of a threat as companies become set in their ways and fail to respond to the changing demands of their customer.

Smaller Independent Retailers have an advantage over larger players…

Smaller Independent retailers can now use their size and low cost base totally to their advantage by making improvements to the customer experience that may cost larger retail chains hundreds of thousands of pounds to roll out across their stores.  They can enjoy the first mover advantage in many areas and build a loyal and profitable customer base over the coming months, which will just strengthen their position and ability to capitalise on some of the big events coming up in 2012.

Rather than worrying about expensive store refits or hefty advertising campaign, independent retailers can make smart improvements to small but significant aspects of their offering simply by asking their customer what they want, the ability to buy the same products online, via their mobile phone, use wave and pay technology to speed up their shopping they can explore how their EPOS systems can support this.

What could you do to boost customer satisfaction and loyalty?

For example, a customer who finds a product out of stock in a small retailer, but is then helped by an assistant to automatically order it for them then and there via their EPOS system and have it available for delivery or collection in just a few days, will retain a happy customer, prevent them buying an alternative product from another retailer and boost their brand reputation in the process.
I strongly recommend that independent retailers take a good look at their customer service provision and what else they could be doing to boost satisfaction and loyalty. By doing so, independent retailers can ensure they can compete with the larger retailers and give their customers a much needed quality service offering.

This blog was written by Scott Storey, Managing Director of CTS Retail (Cervello POS and EPOS Partners).


About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email
This entry was posted in Blog-a-day for Indie Retail, Independent Retailer Month 2011, The Retail Champion. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Independent Retailers CAN compete with multiples! by @ScottGStorey of @CTSRetail #IndieRetail

  1. UniqueOxford says:

    Not quite sure whether this is the place but this blog post prompted the thought – there are so many ways in which indies can compete with the big boys and girls – the points mentioned above are indeed true and the innovation and potential speed of response are probably (the?) two key reasons why people take their custom to indies – they like the uniqueness of the offering and they like the specific/personalised service. One recent example: a DIY indie in Oxford sells screws as singles whereas the chains only sell packets. For someone who just needs a bolt to fix a bike part, it makes more sense financially as well as in satisfaction to use the indie!

    No doubt there are many more examples (broad reasons rather than the specific example cited in this reply, of course) and would be good to see them all gathered together somewhere as a really powerful statement of why the customer benefits by choosing indies over multiples!

    Nice post anyway.

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