5. "I'm put off by the reputation of big brands"
In the last year, big businesses across Britain have been rocked by scandal after scandal. While the horse meat mess boosted sales for local butchers, independent coffee shops saw a windfall from consumer outrage at Starbuck's tax record. Every story is a great one off opportunity for local businesses, but what about the long term?
With a view to the future, local stores must protect their own reputation. You don't just want to be at the front of customers' minds when they grow tired of big business morals; you need them to know your brand has a backbone every day of the year. If you've built your business on principles, put them at the front of your shop and your brand.
4. "High-street chains don't offer value for money"
Big name businesses are very good at picking their market. When it comes to supermarkets or clothing brands, everyone can build a list from cheap and cheerful to top of the line, with everything in between. Yet, a huge proportion of customers still say they can't find value for money within the common high street shops.
Take a lesson from the big businesses and pick a market to sell to. Understand that market and price for them, but do it better than the chains do. That doesn't mean doing it cheaper, just making sure your price matches the audience you're selling to.
3. "I don't know who I'm supporting"
Big businesses constantly struggle to create an artificial brand because the founder of the company isn't able to be on the ground, interacting with customers. They try to fill the void with celebrity advertising or gimmicks but, as a local business, it's something you don't need to do.
You have a readymade face of your brand. It's you and it's probably in your shop the entire time. Never underestimate the importance of making yourself someone people want to support, be involved with and talk about.
2. "I'm made to feel like a number"
Chain stores usually manage to make their customers feel just about as individual their stock. Everyone knows what it's like to talk to a member of staff and be treated like a barrier between them and putting a piece of clothing back in its proper place. Local businesses need to completely outdo the big names when it comes to customer service.
Make sure every person associated with your brand knows how crucial understanding your customers is to being appreciated as a local brand. Extend this to your website too by encouraging customers to create an account and personalise their interaction with your page.
1. "High-street chains lack unique products"
When it comes to products people care about, no one wants to buy something that a dozen people a day will be showing off at the same time, in the same place. A select few big brands are good at avoiding this, but the majority still peddle the same products to everyone, right across the county. Local shops need to be different to survive.
If you're an independent shop, selling unique products should be at the top of your business model. People aren't just going to love a brand because it's local; they need something they associate with it that they can celebrate. Sell something customers think is truly yours, and there's a much bigger chance of you stealing a slice of the big names' audience.
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