Retail giants vs. Independent retailers by @LauraARigney #IndieRetail

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 Laura is the entrepreneurial founder of both Pitcher House and The Mumpreneur Conference and Awards.



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. Bookmark the permalink.

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