There are more than 169,000 independent retail businesses in the UK, equating to 92% of all retail businesses. They form a valuable and treasured part of many communities. They are an integral part of local economies and contribute greatly to local employment.
Often it’s the independent retailers who provide a route to market for up-and-coming designers and producers. Retailers also need the services of many other local businesses – accountants, lawyers, shop fitters, electricians, decorators, printers – so they’re an integral part of the local economic eco-system.
July is Independent Retailer Month. ANY Independent business that serves consumers, be they online only, market trader, shop-based or multi-channel, can take advantage of this global “shop local” campaign. Consumer-facing businesses are encouraged to run events, promotions and activities throughout July to celebrate, with their customers, what they offer to their local community.
Independent Retailer Month highlights the important role smaller, local, independent retailers play in the communities they serve, the local economy they contribute to, and in the retail sector as a whole.
Independent Retailer Month was launched to address growing international concerns about the homogenisation of our towns and the drain of customers from our local centres to out-of-town retail parks, shopping centres and online competition. The initiative aims to:
To kick-start Independent Retailer Month there will be a fantastic launch event on Sunday 1 July. This day-long event will take place at Cranmore Park near Solihull and will feature keynotes from award-winning independent retailers and retail experts, as well as 1-2-1 “ask the expert” sessions.
Those who attend will be able to learn and network with other retailers, experts and organisations whose remit it is voice their needs and wants right up to national government level.
At the end of the day it’s over to you. The campaign gives retailers and consumer-facing businesses “permission” to create as much excitement as possible around the month – you are only limited by your own imagination!
Speak to other independent retailers and consumer-facing businesses in your local community. Let them know about the campaign (if they don’t already) and discuss how you can work together to leverage Independent Retailer Month to attract more customers from your local community.
Contact your local newspaper or radio station. With all the focus on town centres and high streets, thanks to the government’s Portas review, your local press should want to report on how local businesses are fighting back.
Focus on re-engaging with the local shopper, drawing them back into their local shop. And by delivering a great shopping experience you can remind them what fantastic smaller retailers there are right on their doorstep.
Clare Rayner's book, The Retail Champion: 10 steps to retail success, will be published on 3rd July.