The Future Is Bright For Independent Retail by @EposPartners #IndieRetail

The economic landscape may still be rocky for many retailers, but at EposPartners, we’ve seen a surge in enquiries from independent and start-up retailers in recent months. The retail landscape is no longer dominated by major brands and even if you are the smallest independent retailer, you have the opportunity to gain valuable market share, provided you take the right approach.

Consumers seek more information than ever before when it comes to their purchase decisions

I think most retailers will agree that consumers actively seek out more information than ever before when it comes to their purchase decisions. From checking out reviews online to comparing prices on the latest price-checker app, what is clear is that to compete in the modern retail environment, you need have an online presence to support your offline business.  Without it, you risk losing market share to the competition that are delivering both.

Retailers need have an online presence to support their offline business

By online I don’t just mean a static website, but a place where customers can interact and engage in the shopping experience. Whether that is browsing your site during their lunch break or letting them know about your offers via Twitter and Facebook, you need to be doing everything you can to keep your customers thinking about you long after their initial purchase.

As a leading independent hardware retailer, we know that our customers need to do so much more than just have a good EPOS system! So here are a few small but significant tweaks you can make to your offering that could make a huge difference to your sales!

Customers want an enjoyable shopping experience

Customer service delivered by your staff is one of the key factors affecting whether your customers leave your store satisfied and is one key area of advantage for smaller, independent retailers. Meeting and greeting customers is an easy way to boost engagement immediately, so make sure you dedicate some of your team to front of house activities. If you are drafting in additional staff who perhaps aren’t part of the regular team, take extra care to ensure they deliver the level of customer service that has come to be expected by returning customers. Consider ways to make the day enjoyable for your staff, such as incentives for the number of greets or store card sign ups and so on. Customers want to find their shopping experience enjoyable and there is nothing worse than having to face a grumpy employee who is clearly only looking forward to the end of their shift!

Stock Availability is critical to maximising sales

Stock availability and good customer service at a local store level is absolutely critical to maximising sales in the current climate. There is nothing more irritating for a customer than to want to buy something from you, but you just don’t have it! Now I know you can’t predict every potential order, but what you can do is ensure that your systems are updated so that customers are given the most accurate information. Finding an item is in stock when you check online or via an App, only to get to store to find it isn’t, is not going to do you any favours!

Good Images – A great product can be totally let down by poor pictures that fail to show it off in it’s best light

Check the quality of your images that you are using to promote your products. A great product can be totally let down by poor pictures that fail to show it off in it’s best light! If you are keen to really make your products stand out, but your images are letting you down, it may be worth investing in some good quality product shots that will grab the attention of your customers and entice them to buy.

Independent retailers need to offer a truly cross-channel experience

So, in essence, as an independent retailer, you need to offer a truly cross-channel experience which means that your customers have total choice in the way they shop with you. To stay ahead of the game, you need to make sure that you are giving your customers compelling reasons to shop with you by providing a seamless, enjoyable and stress-free shopping experience! Good luck!

Author: Jennie Knight, E-commerce manager, EposPartners

Jennie joined EposPartners in 2011 having worked with two leading retail chains to develop their multi-channel solutions.  An experienced E-commerce manager having also worked in the Civil Service and high-end hospitality, she is determined to continually develop the EposPartners brand, improving the customer experience by listening to their needs and sourcing suitable solutions.   Jennie is proving that EposPartners is the place to come for advice and guidance when making that all-important purchase for your retail outlet.

For more information visit www.epospartners.co.uk

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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.
This entry was posted in Independent Retailer Month - Blog-a-day for #IndieRetail and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Future Is Bright For Independent Retail by @EposPartners #IndieRetail

  1. Pingback: A blog-a-day for #IndieRetail | Clare Rayner: The Retail Champion

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