Cambridge Independent Retailer Month 2014 by @CambridgeBID

This is a guest feature provided by Rachel Rissbrook, Marketing and Commercial Manager, Cambridge BID. Rachel was coordinator of this year’s Independent Retailer Month activities in the city.

Independent Retailer Month in Cambridge

cambridge marketCambridge is a gorgeous historical city and an ideal place for local residents and visitors to potter around and discover a large and diverse array of independent retailers. From market stalls to shops, bars and cafes, museums and attractions, Cambridge has a booming and vibrant independent scene that sets it apart from many of the UK’s high streets.

 

cambridge market 1Independent Retailer Month is a great way of raising awareness for these different businesses, and in Cambridge, we believe they are an essential part of the city landscape throughout the year.  This year, we felt that as a city we should of course continue to promote the indie retailers, but it was also important to celebrate the month with our service sector and fantastic and unique attractions such as punting company, Scudamore’s.  Dating back to 1903, Scudamore’s is one of Cambridge’s oldest independent businesses. It used the month to lay on some special tours and has been thrilled to be a part of the campaign for the first time as it had the opportunity to link up with other local businesses.

Getting involved with Independent Retailer Month

 

cambridge bidIn total, 57 businesses took part in our July campaign – some working together to offer a Street Party such as Rose Crescent, a unique and quaint side street with a mix of shops and cafes.  Others ran their own promotions and events with some fun and creative competitions too. Cambridge BID coordinated the campaign and funded marketing support and produced a guide to the city’s independents which was available at all participating businesses, at major distribution points around the city, and city residents received them through their doors! Support marketing included local advertising and promotion, an extensive Twitter campaign and online activity through www.cambridgebid.co.uk and local partners, including tourism www.visitcambridge.com.

Increased Footfall and Business Success

The most successful businesses of the month, who saw increased footfall, were those that engaged with their current customers as well as riding off the back of the city-wide campaign. Sharon Meijand, owner of the unique vegetarian eatery, Rainbow Café www.rainbowcafe.co.uk, organised a ‘Double Happy Hour’. Sharon says that she was “delighted to take part in the month’s campaign and as the offer was so well received, we decided to extend it throughout August and September”.

CallyCo www.callyco.com, Cambridge’s brightest and most creative independent fabric shop and haberdashers, enthused of the attention it received as part of Independent Retailer Month.

Boudoir Femme www.boudoirfemme.co.uk, the go-to destination for stylish women of Cambridge and beyond, has an enviable reputation for customer service and believes that Independent Retailer Month is one amongst many initiatives that has established a collaborative spirit and sense of community amongst retailers and residents alike. Boudoir Femme’s owner, Pippa Sandison, says, “We saw an increase in our footfall and mailing list; achieved through promotional discounts that drove sales and coincided activity with a successful charity event”.

Independent Retailer Month goes from strength to strength

All in all, the month goes from strength to strength in Cambridge with an increase in businesses being involved.  We are delighted to be able to support the local independents as they bring something unique to our city (and high streets generally). The experience you get with our indies really makes the difference: they are passionate about their businesses and about their customers and we look forward to the next campaign!

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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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