As an independent business, you need to be there for your community to drive long-term customer loyalty and increase awareness of your store.
Retailers excelling in this category have a plan to support their communities, whether it’s fundraising for a local school or donating products or time to an organisation.
Think about how you support your community and ask: are you doing enough?
Pav Garcha bought Central Stores Winterslow in Salisbury, Wiltshire, in 2018 following a career change from dentistry.
Pav knows his customers by name and offers a range of services in store, including a post office. He hosts community events in store and advertises his efforts in the local parish newsletter, but feels he could do more to cement his role in the community.
How can the IAA and Jack Courtez from betterRetailing help him better serve his community?
Why I take part
“We’re in a small village with approximately 2,500 residents, but only a quarter actively visit our shop and I’d like to change that by getting more involved with local initiatives and the community.
“The ideas the IAA and Jack from betterRetailing have suggested today are straight-forward and simple to implement, which I’m sure will help to increase footfall and drive sales.”
Sharing successes so your hard work is noticed
Since taking over two years ago, Pav has tried to get involved with his community by hosting events in store, but hasn’t seen much traction.
How can he show he’s there for his community?
Jack says: “It’s great you’re actively getting involved in your community through in-store events and donations, but you also need to highlight this to new and existing customers.
“By using your notice board outside the store to communicate your efforts using photos or cards, you can show your personality and cement your role as the heart of the community.”
ACTION ➜ Display photos of events and charities you support on your notice board to show how you’re helping the community
Supporting and promoting local initiatives or campaigns
Pav is relatively new to the area and wants to ingrain himself in the community, and while he is well-known by existing customers, there is more to do.
How can he engage with new customers?
Jack says: “Being involved in your community is key to retaining customers and offering your time to get involved with the local council can help you achieve this. By offering support in executing new initiatives, you can become the go-to place for locals.
“Why not try asking customers questions to find out what organisations they would like you to support.”
ACTION ➜ Offer your time to the local parish council and ask customers which organisations they’d like you to support
Planning to ensure success
Being new to retail, Pav has focused on building his reputation. As a result, events can creep up on him, meaning he can’t make the most of them.
How can he maximise every seasonal opportunity?
Jack says: “Advance planning is key to making the most of any seasonal events. Planning how you will approach each one a couple of months beforehand allows you to budget and implement any safety measures, such as staggering entries or social distancing.
“It also gives you plenty of time to tell your community, so you increase the impact of your efforts.”
ACTION ➜ Have a calendar with the events you want to support as well as preparation dates to help you plan
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