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.