As preparations begin in the US for 4th of July celebrations and the UK gears up for its annual Independent Retailer Month, how can privately owned retail establishments show larger rivals that now is the time for Independents’ day?
It’s time to get behind our independent retailers!
It’s about time smaller retailers globally had a champion, as they do in the UK. July marks Britain’s Independent Retailer Month – led by retail expert Clare Rayner, the campaign focuses on the social and commercial value of independent stores within local shopping centres and high streets.
This is a perfect opportunity to highlight the benefits of shopping independently to customers, as well as finding ways to optimise sales against big chain store competition.
While it may seem a tall task, there are plenty of reasons for consumers to part with their well-earned pennies at independent retail stores rather than heading for the better-known giants.
One of the most important selling points is customer service; the kind of personalisation that ensures shoppers return time and time again. To achieve this, it is crucial to analyse who your customer is, what their expectations are and how they choose to shop – and a key factor in identifying these components is the data generated by retail intelligence systems.
The story of Country Road
Having started out as a small women’s shirt business in the 70s, Australian label Country Road is a great example of a store that has succeeded through analysing customer footfall and conversion.
In order to grow, Country Road needed to pinpoint the primary elements of customer service that contribute to capturing sales, so enlisted Footfall to install its traffic counting and analytics system across 50 stores.
Interestingly, the data produced revealed visible dips in sales during times where there was an increase in casual staff on the floor, who may not have been as familiar with the products as the full-time staff.
Country Road was able to respond by ensuring employees held a five-minute brief at the start of their shift, to ensure all associates were fully up-to-date once on the floor.
“Suddenly we had our eyes opened,” commented the company’s commercial manager, Kate Bergin, Commercial Manager at Mimco. “We now have greater insight into the trends happening in specific shopping locations and how this translates into in-store footfall.”
By measuring store performance by conversion rate and analysing peak times and seasons alongside behaviours of the core customer, independent retailers can look at how to further satisfy shopper needs.
A unique selling point of independent stores is that they can react far more quickly to demand than chain, where the process of data interpretation, response and approval of business changes is much longer.
All in all, retail intelligence solutions provide a proven system for businesses of all sizes to measure the exact engagement of customers in near real-time. For independently-run stores, this enables the expansion of loyalty and personalisation that form their business blueprint.