Over the past 18 – 24 months we’ve seen a real shift in customer opinion towards big, corporate companies. Simultaneously there has been a push towards shopping local to support communities. Consequently, many shoppers now actively look for local companies and choose to shop with smaller businesses when possible. This is great news for small business owners like you because it means that customers will be pushed towards your brand whether you’re a family ran business, independent retailer or a new online businesses with great ethics. But the difficult part, for many businesses, will be pulling the customers in and retaining them. We’ve put together 5 reasons why customers are shopping local and how you can use this to your advantage and build new loyal customers.
- People like the personal approach that small businesses often promote. This is particularly true for family-run businesses since customers feel they are really helping the community. Your businesses can take this in it’s stride by taking a more personal approach. Consider sharing posts about yourselves and your family on social media and link it back to the business so people feel they are really getting involved with something good. Whilst this idea won’t work at the moment it’s a good one to consider for the future – you can hold a local fate where small businesses in the area like yourselves can set up fun stalls and selling tables to attract the locals. This gives them the opportunity to meet you personally and build up that loyalty we know is so golden in business.
- Large corporate companies often have very negative green impact and unethical practices, which more and more people are becoming aware of, this pushes them to find businesses that are more sustainable and caring. If you are able to paint your business in a positive ethical light then you may find customers become loyal to you as they respect what you are doing and how you operate. Small switches such as moving to recyclable bags or buying items from sustainable sources can be great ways to attract people who are keen to shop at local stores.
- Whilst the range of products online is vast people do still enjoy having a browse in stores, this is especially true when the store stocks unique items that are different to other retailers. Large corporate companies often have similar skews in order to compete with one another. Luckily for you and your small business, you don’t need to compete with large companies but instead, be supply customers with the unique items they haven’t seen elsewhere. With smaller and quicker moving stock you’ll be able to keep inventory constantly fresh encouraging customers to visit back more often.
- Customer service is another key reason why people choose to shop local. Whilst similar to the first point this is specifically about the service received and experiences in-store. Corporate store workers often have difficult targets they’ll be trying to reach in terms of how quickly customers are served both at tills and on the shop floor. In smaller businesses staff usually aren’t under as much pressure enabling them to spend time having more personal, enjoyable interactions with customers. These moments are key when it comes to building customer relationships and is more likely to turn them into loyal customers who enjoy visiting stores
- Finally, local stores provide jobs for the community and are generally much happier places to work. Many people will start shopping at stores when they know someone who works there. So if you hire people from the local community it’s likely that they’ll bring new business to your store. Local shops often provide great first and part-time jobs so are an asset to have within the community.