Independent retailers hold the key to their own success. If you take a clinical look at how a large retailer and an independent retailer works you’ll be able to see why…
What about buying power? Surely multiples have a stronger position…
Buying – Yes the larger stores have more buying power which in turn means they are able to buy at reduced prices and possibly sell at lower retail prices but the red tape involved in buying is immense. It can take weeks even months to arrange a meeting, finalise details, confirm pricing, arrange delivery and actually get it on their shelves. Independent retailers may not always be able to buy huge quantities but they can do it more easily and much faster meaning they can have that product on their shelves months before the big guys.
Indies also have the edge on Customer Service!
Customer service – We’re all sick of being passed from pillar to post when we make a complaint or suggestion to the larger stores. If done by telephone it can take multiple phone calls and far too much time. If done in store it’s often the case that you are talking to the monkey rather than the organ grinder. Indies have the ability to deal with customer queries, complaint and compliments head on which means they know exactly what their customers want. This is an invaluable asset when dealing with the buying public.
Knowing your customer and building long-term relationships drives loyalty
Personal touch – It’s not often that you can go to some of the larger department stores and be able to deal with staff who know what you like. Usually, it’s a different face behind the till just going through the motions and not really caring about the purchases you have made. Indies are in the fortunate position of being able to get to know their customers on a more personal level. They can build up rapports that the giants can only dream of and this kind of customer relationship will always encourage future purchases.
Uniqueness… When you can’t be compared to anyone else you’ll engage more customers!
Be different – Each large retailer has a corporate image that they must maintain. Each store is a carbon copy of the one before and nothing ever changes. Indies can change as often as they want to! They say variety is the spice of life and it’s the same when it comes to retailing. Ensure your store and stock are fresh and shake things up every once in a while. It gives customers a reason to pop in, even if it is just to see what the latest changes are. This little visit will quite often lead to another small purchase which adds to your profits!
All in all, we have the power to make a huge difference not only to the retailing world but also to the customers shopping experience. Grab your opportunities and make the most of each and every one of them!
This blog was written by Laura Rigney of www.pitcherhouse.co.uk. Laura is the entrepreneurial founder of both Pitcher House and The Mumpreneur Conference and Awards.