Wrapping up Independent Retailer Month UK 2012 by @kerrybannigan #indieretail

As we begin to wrap up Independent Retailer Month UK 2012 I sit here with a beaming smile thinking about how things have moved on since the initial announcement on 1st June 2011 of the expansion of the campaign from the USA to the UK and the appointment of Clare Rayner, The Retail Champion, to lead the campaign.

Independent Retailer Month has experienced rapid growth

When I originally co-founded this in the USA I had no idea of the rapid growth this would gain and it was one of my goals for this to take place in UK imagining the quirky, fun yet effective things British indie retailers would do with this. I am so proud of how, with Clare’s leadership, Britain has embraced this campaign and made it their own with a range of activities, promotions and events.

Many of these promoted via www.independentretailermonth.co.uk/events/2012, the highlights included:

  • Double loyalty points on every Saturday throughout July at The Dressing room – which resulted in a 4% sales increase on event days!
  • A shopping crawl in Banbury all month long!
  • A medieval event and an Italian event in Tewkesbury
  • Meet the maker events
  • Open for Business events

As well as a whole raft of other promotions, activities and events designed to engage and attract the local consumers.

Independent Retailer Month UK gained the support of some exceptional organisations!

It is a great accomplishment to have garnered the support of organisations reaching over 250,000 UK based micro- and small businesses. Supporters include:

  • BIRA – British Independent Retailers Association
  • ATCM – Association of Town Centre Management
  • AMT – Action for Market Towns
  • NMTF – National Market Traders Federation
  • FSB – Federation of Small Businesses, and,
  • BCC – British Chambers of Commerce

The campaign had consistent media coverage from February onwards!

The consistent media coverage is encouraging for the growth ranging from sector specific trade press including Furniture News, Pet Gazette, Craft Focus to broader retail press such as Retail Week, Drapers, Retail Gazette and Boutique Magazine. It is through this support that we can continue to collaborate to encourage shopping locally, buying from independent retailers to create sustainable communities.

In addition to the trade press the was great coverage from various radio stations, including BBC Radio 4, online media – blogs and features, and several local press.

Learnings from the USA: What’s proven to be successful across the pond!

A great way for the campaign to develop is for retailers to rally together and work as a community creating more relevant activities, promotions and events for the shoppers in the local catchment area, making it more fun for the local consumers to engage with retailers. At the same time retailers have the opportunity to share the message that if people don’t want to see them disappearing from their communities they do actually need to remember to shop with them, to celebrate the creativity and diversity that they bring to the retail sector as a whole.

During Independent Retailer Month USA it is popular for communities to create a “Passport Program”, which is a collaboration between all of the locally based shops and the local Chamber/Business Improvement District/Retail Organisation.

A ‘passport’ is designed and produced by a local printer and handed out to shoppers listing the names of all the local shops. Each time someone makes a purchase, they receive a stamp. Ten purchases and you receive a prize ranging from vouchers, goodie bags or entry for a large prize.

It’s cohesive community events like the USA “Passport Program” that can really make a big difference to an area, and, by engaging new customers throughout the campaign the retailers have the opportunity to reconnect with them all year around, increasing their frequency of visit and hopefully also their frequency of transaction.

Independent Retailer Month 2012 ends today, but that’s not the end of the support!

As we continue to grow Independent Retailer Month it is important for our team to hear from retailers regarding what success they can share, what failures to avoid for next time, and most importantly what they would like to see in their communities. It is through this open line of communication that the Independent Christmas campaign has been created.

In addition Independent Retailer Month will be back in 2013, and hopefully continuing to grow as it has done in the past year.

All year round the support and advice will remain available via http://www.independentretailermonth.co.uk/ideas-resources and not forgetting this blog – with a whole host of guest features and with more to come.

So, it’s not just about a month, it’s an all-year around campaign to support and celebrate Independent Retailers and I for one would like to thank you for being a part of it thus far!

This blog was written by Kerry Bannigan, Co-Founder of Independent Retailer Month Globally.

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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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