Perhaps unsurprisingly, recent figures have shown that retail footfall declined in November and was expected to fall by 62% over the six-week period leading up to 22 December.  This is clearly a very challenging period for the retail sector, especially for those small local retailers who do not have the budget to move online, and complete with larger retailers in their area. How can local, independent retailers have a successful Christmas period without exploring expensive digital avenues?

 

Use Local to your Advantage 

In 2020 consumers’ shopping habits have changed as consumers are now shopping at small local shops more than ever before. During the pandemic, consumers decided to shop in smaller local stores because they felt it was a ‘safer’ shopping experience. Furthermore, during challenging times consumers wanted to support small businesses in their local community.

If you are an independent local business make sure everyone in your community knows about it! There are multiple ways of doing this:

  • Create social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, etc) This is much quicker and less expensive than setting up a website.
  • Get involved in community events. This is a great way of spreading the word about your business.
  • Create a small leaflet and post it to houses in your local area.
  • In addition, if your products are locally sourced you should highlight this, locally made products can be more appealing to consumers than those that are sourced nationally or internationally.

 

Personalisation

One of the main reasons why consumers prefer independent local retailers is because of their personal experience. Make sure you go the extra mile to make your consumers happy, if they have a bad experience they will not return to your store. Customer loyalty is essential for the success of any small retailer and can lead to more word-of-mouth promotion.

There are a number of ways that you can make your business more personal.

  • Hire friendly staff that live in the local area. These staff members are likely to have more to talk about with your potential customers.
  • Offer a local delivery service
  • Offer one to one customer service, having one to one customer service in your store makes the customer journey more personalised.

 

Focus on What You Can do that those Large Retailers Cannot

Small local retailers should consider what they can offer that large retailers cannot. Nothing can beat the sensation of a physical shopping experience. This is because consumers can see the products first hand. Small local retailers should look at improving this experience so the customer is drawn to the product and is more likely to purchase it. Don’t just let them touch and look at the products allow them to try them out. If your store sells sports equipment, for example, tennis rackets allow your consumers to try them out.  These types of customer demos are key in persuading them to purchase the product and something that cannot be replicated on a screen. Secondly, they will remember the customer experience and will return to your store when they want to purchase another product.

 

How can we Help?

At Hawsons we have a dedicated team of retail accountants at our offices in Sheffield, Doncaster, and Northampton. We offer a specialist service to retailers of all types and sizes. We can assist you with all your accountancy and taxation needs, utilising our in-depth knowledge and experience in the sector from single sites to multi-channel retailers.

 

 

Free initial consultation

Pete Wilmer

Corporate Finance Partner

0114 266 7141

[email protected]