Retail - Why small is mighty..
2019 has been an awful year for Retail. Almost daily administration announcements and record store closures. Many Specialist retail businesses however, are doing relatively well compared to mainstream, and seem to be bucking this downwards trend. This is likely because they are more attuned to the changing needs of their customer. They interact more with their customers and are seen as authentic and having the customers best interests first. Just look at the likes of Lush cosmetics, or Screwfix. Two very different retail propositions yet both doing pretty well. Both knowing and staying very close to their core customer.
Small is Mighty
Independents and small box retail are also able to stay closer to their core customer base. These uncertain days actually yield huge opportunity for emerging retail business to shine.
As a smaller retailer, you're a 'speedboat' - You can turn around / move fast and change course quickly if needs be. Whereas the 'big tankers' or traditional large retail estates - move slowly and cautiously. Change is expensive, and leadership layers are often too complex to take decisive action quickly.
Just think about the opportunity..
Online is within reach of everyone. You can now sell world wide. Whatever size of business you have! Having a website used to be something only big business could afford. That's no longer the case - You can build a shoppify site pretty quickly and at a low entry cost. Furthermore there are grants to help with this from Local Enterprise Offices and from Enterprise Ireland.
Marketing is in-house and agile. If you have a smart phone - You can build a really strong market presence via Social Media. Anyone can market their Brand or Business nowadays effectively and at low cost. Furthermore - you can use Social Media to drive traffic to your store, or to sell directly via links to website for key products / promotions. In addition - this enables you to be really targeted in attracting new customers.
You are closer to your Customer. You have the power to really connect with your customer on a local level. And believe me when I say that consumers want to do business with authentic businesses. Connecting locally and staying close to your customer base is key. Customers may want to browse online - however they still like to buy in store - to see and touch the product. Get your customer involved and engaged with in store activities and events. This is a great opportunity to build loyalty also by getting to know your customers, going the extra mile, showing your difference.
There will always be a need for bricks & mortar and physical retail. Consumers still want to see product showcased. Consumers still want to connect with the brand and the story. The difficulty is that many retailers either haven't caught up yet. Or they have continued with 'same old' product - season in and out - and lost touch with who their customer is and what they want.
Agile is everything in these new trading times. If you're a speedboat - It's time to start revving....