In a crowded marketplace, it can be challenging for independent stores to capture people’s attention. But by understanding customers’ needs, and staying on top of calendars and product launches, retailers can create something eye-catching both in their stores and online.
The entrance to your store is prime real estate, with Jeet Bansi, from Londis Meon Vale in Stratford-upon-Avon, recommending retailers create inviting displays that highlight seasonally appropriate, on-trend or good-value products. “We have Andrex at £3.99, which shouts value and as customers approach, they’re already interested in the price because we’ve built a big stack of them at the end of the aisle.”
Faisal Naseem, who runs two stores in Arbroath, Angus, runs promotions on social media, highlighting new products rather than price promotions because margins are already tight. Alcohol is a particular winner for him, especially around holidays such as Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
“We don’t do grocery items because it’s a very competitive market, although we did once sell bread, eggs and milk at below cost price to help with the cost of living,” he says. “We did alcohol giveaways at Christmas with Au Vodka. That worked well because it’s an ideal gift. It made people aware of our store and they were liking, tagging and sharing our posts. The power of ‘free’ is something to take on board.”
While social media allows you to monitor customer engagement, retailers should also be aware that customers will see and act on your posts without actively engaging with it online.
“Don’t get disillusioned that you’re not getting likes,” says Christine Hope, from Hopes of Longtown in Herefordshire. “You’ll still get impact. And make sure you’re using hashtags that are relevant. That helps with the algorithm. And be consistent with your tone.”