Welcome to the Independent Retail Blog

This blog has been created in order to provide a focal point and forum for Independent Retailers. It’s here to provide a repository of guest blogs from a range of people who can share news, advice, hints and tips, support and success stories with Independent Retailers. 

Independent Retailer Month

One of the reasons this blog came about was to support the Independent Retailer Month campaign which runs annually throughout July. During Independent Retailer Month we release a “blog-a-day for #IndieRetail” and it seemed appropriate for that to be hosted on a dedicated Independent Retail blog.

If you’d like to know more about Independent Retailer Month visit www.independentretailermonth.co.uk – there is a FREE UK Shops directory (www.independentretailermonth.co.uk/uk-shops) as well as a whole range of downloadable how-to guides that you can either “trade a tweet” for or request by email (www.independentretailermonth.co.uk/ideas-resources)

Supporting Independent Retail all year round.

Independent Retailer Month arrived in the UK in 2011, it has been created in the USA a couple of years prior. 2012 was the first real opportunity to plan ahead as in 2011 it was only launched in mid-June – not enough time to prepare for July!!

What has since become apparent is that the independent retailers would really welcome and benefit from ongoing, year-round support. So that’s what we’re developing. Our plans for 2013 include creating the ongoing support, and this blog is the beginning of that.

A dedicated conference for independent retailers to network, learn and share.

In addition we’ll learn from our Independent Retailer Month UK “kick-start” conference and develop a dedicated event from that inaugural event that will provide independent retailers with a valuable day to network, learn and share.

A month-long retailer-led celebration of independent retail throughout July

We’ll still have the month-long retailer-led campaign throughout July, and encourage promotions, activities and events to be organised by retailers and groups of retailers in order to really engage the local consumers and celebrate their contribution to the communities in which they trade.

UK-Wide road-shows celebrating independent businesses and entrepreneurs!

We’re planning some kind of road-shows, in partnership with Enterprise Rockers. These will have 2 objectives:

  1. To provide support and advice, in person, to local entrepreneurs, traders and business owners
  2. To create a consumer-facing event to showcase the very best of what an area has to offer

We’ve not finalised the format of those yet, in fact there may be several formats to chose from in order to offer towns a choice, but we have some fab ideas on the table. If you’ve got any thoughts about this please let us know – the more creative ideas the better!

Independent Retailer Awards

To really celebrate the best retailers out there we’re scoping a nation-wide awards. We’re planning to include an “Independent Retailer of the Month” (thinking that these will be voted for by their customers – watch this space) and “Independent Retailer of the Year” awards (with many categories to recognise examples of excellence throughout this diverse sector). Again, if you have any thoughts about this whilst nothing is case in stone we’d love to hear from you!

Keep in touch with our plans for supporting Independent Retail via social media and email

To keep in touch you can:

  1. Follow us on twitter – @IndieRetailUK or keep tracks of #IndieRetail
  2. Like us on facebook (for now the page is focused on Independent Retailer Month, we may in time develop additional pages) – www.facebook.com/IndependentRetailerMonthUK
  3. Join our linkedin group – Independent & SME Retailer Forum
  4. Subscribe to this blog via email – using the button on the right
  5. Subscribe to our email news letters via the form on www.independentretailermonth.co.uk
  6. You can even download posters and logos from flickr via www.flickr.com/IndependentRetailerMonthUK

We look forward to releasing more news and hearing your thoughts in due course!

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About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email champion@retailchampion.co.uk.
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