This month, it’s Independent Retailer Month – the part of the year where the importance of independent and small retailers’ is highlighted and consumers are asked to get behind their local stores. The campaign is led by retail expert and founder of Support for Independent Retail, Clare Rayner, and is currently live, nationwide.
The key message from Clare and Independent Retailer Month is “use it or lose it” and, with that in mind, we take a look at just what small, local stores do for communities, the economy and consumers themselves.[gdlr_heading tag=”h2″ font_weight=”bold”]Community Value[/gdlr_heading]
In many ways, independent traders are the lifeblood of communities. Often run by locals and serving locals, independent retailers often the opportunity to support local people, providing employment for thousands.[gdlr_heading tag=”h2″ font_weight=”bold” ]Economic Force[/gdlr_heading]
The value of independent trader to the economy on a local scale has been thoroughly investigated and, indeed, proven. In local terms, financial analysts suggest that between 50p and 70p for every pound spent goes directly back into the local economy. When buying from major organisations or conglomerates, on the other hand, as little as 5% of the profits finds its way back into the local economy.[gdlr_heading tag=”h2″ font_weight=”bold” ]For the Customer[/gdlr_heading]
The strength of independent traders against their much larger counterparts is their ability to care for customers. Sometimes small enough to know customers by name, independent stores are much better-positioned to offer high quality customer service. Indeed, they have a much greater stake in the business; staff are often partners and thus providing excellence tops the agenda.
Moreover, without being tied up in a group structure, independent traders have greater control over the products they supply and are able to more creative with anything from menus to fabrics and designs. They add variety; they bring something that large organisations are often unable to.
In such a way, the presence of small and independent retailers within the retail landscape also implores larger organisations to do more and do better – whether that’s in terms of price, product, product range or service.
As part of Independent Retailer Month, many small and independent stores are offering goods at discounted rates in order to encourage customers to the door. Some are also donating items to charity for raffles so as to highlight their positive community impact they represent.