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What Independent Retailer Month Means For Your Business

July really is the month to celebrate independence, what with American Independence Day on 4th July, and now Independent Retailer Month in the UK.

It may be the major chains that dominate the headlines but independent businesses remain the lifeblood of our economy. Their goods and services not only keep our local economy pumping, but they bring us closer to our local communities. 

Independent Retailer Month is an annual campaign honouring the critical role these local merchants play in the retail sector, as well as within the communities they serve. It is important your company gets the most out of the month and understands the meaning behind it:

It will help you stand up to the competition

Those who shop at major chains are quick to point out that smaller retailers tend to charge more for their products. While this is sometimes true, there are a tonne of benefits to shopping local. While they may cost more, these products are locally sourced, locally crafted and the money made contributes to the local economy.

This is why events such as Independent Retailer Month are so important. The more money we invest in local business, the more is kept within our communities. Research has found that for every £1 spent with local, independent businesses, between 50p-70p is reinvested into that local economy. This contrasts with larger competitors where only 5p trickles back to the local community.

It will help you connect with your community

Community engagement is important to any local business, so it is fundamentally important to Independent Retailer Month. There will be a range of events and activities happening in your local area during July, so don’t hesitate to use these to forge stronger connections with your community.

These activities can range from product launches and venue openings to workshops and tutorials. Workshops are particularly powerful opportunities for showing off your skills and expertise. Offering customers a chance to learn something new could definitely inspire them to seek you out. For example, offering customers sewing classes could inspire them to visit your boutique for more tips or even a whole new wardrobe.

This connection with the community is not so apparent when shopping at major chains, where a feeling of anonymity is more commonly felt. With this in mind, during Independent Retailer Month go above and beyond for your customers. Attend and host events and forge connections that will last far longer than the month of July. 

It will help you re-engage with your locale

During Independent Retailer Month, don’t just sell your company and product: sell your location. Recognise that by shopping local your customers are leaving behind large congested shopping centres, or even the comfort of their own living room. 

Trudging the streets is an exhaustive experience in both cold and warm weather, so ensure your customers are rewarded for their efforts. When you host events, don’t hire out a nondescript conference hall. Let an iconic and picturesque park, old theatre or town hall take centre stage. 

Above all, demonstrate respect for your community and surroundings. Research has found that independent makers are more likely to use recyclable materials, so don’t hesitate to reduce your own plastic waste. Inspire this sentiment even further through your community events e.g. launch a competition with a planted tree as a prize.

It will boost your sales

Let’s not forget how Independent Retailer Month can help your bottom line. Once July is over you will have to return to business as usual, so focus your efforts on not only reaching new customers but convincing them to stick around.

Interacting with customers on social media should be commonplace in this day and age, but try tailoring your efforts around Independent Retailer Month. Join the conversation with official hashtags such as #IndieRetail, or jumpstart your own through product giveaways and photo competitions.

Now you have more customers, you just have to keep them. While social media is an effective tactic, some things are better in person. Discounts and promotions will help generate interest, while a winning smile and a loyalty card will ensure this interest endures. 

What you can do for Independent Retailer Month

Whether you are a consumer or business owner, we can all do our bit for Independent Retailer Month. Start small and spread the word; encourage friends and family to support their local stores by buying products or attending events. 

The goal behind Independent Retailer Month is to not to throw a big party in July but to change consumer habits in the long term. Locally sourced products may carry a slightly bigger price tag, but there’s no doubt that spending local is worth every cent. 

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