On 17th October O2 published research revealing the truth behind why consumers aren’t shopping at local independent retailers. While 83% of UK consumers admit to being worried about the decline of local communities*, two thirds (65%) of independent retailers say traffic through their shops has at best remained static, or has fallen in the last twelve months.
Why aren’t consumers shopping locally?
To find out the reasons behind the lack of consumers shopping locally, 02 polled consumers on the various roadblocks they face:
- Almost a third (31%) of people who shop at larger, competitor chain stores do so simply because they don’t know of any independent alternatives
- Lack of awareness is a big problem; 18% could not even name an independent retailer near their home
- Misconceptions also cause consumers to shy away from shopping locally; the majority (53%) think that independent retailers are more expensive than chain stores
- Over half (52%) think that independent shops don’t offer the range of goods they are looking for
O2 Priority Moments can really help increase footfall and engagement between consumers and local, independent businesses
I think that with the launch of Priority Moments for Independent Businesses there it a great opportunity for retailers to leverage their strengths (service, customer experience, place in the local community) and increase consumer awareness of their brand.
We all know that consumers enjoy online offers and vouchers. Now the 23 million customers of O2 in the UK can benefit from finding out about great local, independent businesses. O2 have launched their “Priority Moments” for Independent Businesses, ALL of them (whether O2 customers or not) meaning they can create time-limited offers, deals, discounts and experiences to attract local customers to them and giving the retailers and consumer-facing brands to really showcase what they’ve got.
Consumers benefit from receiving tailored offers from their local high street. It will make it easy to find and save money with the independent businesses they like, but are struggling to connect with, and for businesses, it gives new ways to spread the word.
Independent Businesses represent over 1/3rd of all retail and leisure businesses in the UK
Our independents’ are really key to our towns, communities and high streets – they employ thousands of people and contribute considerably to the local and national economy – but times are tough, 16% have concerns that if trade doesn’t improve they won’t survive 2013.
The free Priority Moments app enables all of the estimated quarter of a million local independent retailers in Britain to provide a wide range of exclusive offers and experiences that are relevant, local and immediately redeemable. This means consumers can overcome the problems they face when shopping locally, to discover hidden gems in their local community at a price that’s right for them.
I think we all agree that unless more is done to support independent business, the challenges they face threaten to undermine this important sector of the economy.
FREE roll out of O2 Priority Moments is welcomed by bira (British Independent Retailers Association)
Michael Weedon, Deputy Chief Executive of the British Independent Retailers Association, said: “Footfall is falling, draining the vitality of our towns and making life increasingly hard for independents. There are over a quarter of a million small retail businesses in Great Britain and while consumers continue to love them, they do not see them as clearly as they do the big multiples with the big national brands.
There is an opportunity, though, with the massive uptake of smartphones in this country – well over half of all adults now have one in their pocket or handbag – and the ability to communicate directly with local customers can provide a route to renewed vitality for small businesses.
But, being small, they lack technical expertise, resources and, in many cases, confidence in taking advantage of new technologies. The opening of Priority Moments to small businesses, with an easy to use administrative system creates a huge opportunity for independents, driven by the massive power and expertise of O2.”
Over 40% of consumers feel Independent Businesses are a key element in the local community – but it’s a case of use it or loose it in the current economy!
Sally Cowdry, Marketing and Consumer Director at O2, said: “Our research showed that amongst consumers that choose to shop at local independents, 40% consider them to be an important part of the local community. We also know that consumers are looking for value so Priority Moments for Independent Businesses uses mobile technology to help unlock the possibilities across local high streets throughout the UK. By using their mobiles to find the latest offers near to them we hope that more consumers will rediscover the great opportunities available through shopping locally and the benefits it can also bring to local communities and businesses.”
The O2 research findings showed further positive associations with shopping locally with 45% citing convenience, 27% the personal service and 32% stating the unique experience independent retailers offer.
An amazing £2.5million is being spent to promote O2 Priority Moments FREE services for Independent Businesses!
O2 are investing £2.5million in the launch and promotion of Priority Moments for Independent Businesses – that isn’t far off what the Government gave to just 27 Portas Pilot towns – this is a considerable step by a major corporate brand to show it’s commitment to Independent businesses – I urge ALL consumer facing brands trial it – see how it can be best used for your business – you don’t want to be missing out!
O2 said that Priority Moments is part of their on-going commitment to providing a digitally enabled shopping experience. Through additional O2 services such as Wifi and O2 Wallet they are continuing to use technology to unlock new possibilities for both consumers and businesses. Since the launch of Priority Moments in July 2012, O2’s 23million customers have saved an estimated £23m thanks to over 4,400 offers from over 1,000 brands.
The Consumer Revolution, The Retail Evolution
You may have heard in some of my talks that I believe there has been a consumer revolution, it started just under 20 years ago when ecommerce and shopping online became a reality. The pace of change accelerated beyond anything we’d ever seen before in January 2007 when the late, great Steve Jobs launched the first iPhone with the statement:
“Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything”.
How right he was, and in the 5 years since consumers behaviours have changed so dramatically as to be almost unrecognisable. The fall out has had a profound, sometimes hugely damaging impact on traditional retailing. However, and thanks to innovators such as O2, now retailers have the tools and capabilities they need to be able to fully respond to the consumer revolution and kick-start the much-needed retail evolution.