Awareness of smaller retailers is on the up, but winning the high street battle will come down to a niche product offering and personalised shopping experience, says new research for marketing automaton suite Pure360.
“We’re witnessing the emergence of a real David versus Goliath story within the retail industry, which consumers are clearly getting behind,” stated Komal Helyer, marketing director at Pure360. “Independents offer a niche product set, a more personalised experience and, crucially, can adapt quickly to the changing needs and situations of a consumer. For many larger brands this level of agility is insurmountable, making them look outdated and disconnected, which is leading to closures and collapse.”
Continues Komal: “For independents, there is a significant opportunity to serve a real purpose in the lives of consumers, if they understand what is achievable and the technologies available to do so. With the right technological support brands can leverage data to demonstrate relevance, usefulness and the offer a personalised experienced at every stage of the customer journey, enabling them to win the battle.”
The findings revealed that nearly three quarters (72%) of British consumers want the government to do moreto back the growth of smaller, independent retailers.
The research, which commissioned YouGov to poll a representative sample of British consumers, found that nearly half (42%) would consider shopping with an independent retailer over a larger retailer because they prefer to support smaller operations. In addition, more than one in five shoppers said that they like to compare price and product offerings between larger retail brands and independents before going on to make the final purchase from the smaller retailer.
The surge in support for independents is partly due to the customer service they offer, with nearly half (43%) of respondents claiming they would consider shopping with an independent over a larger retailer because they are treated like a valued customer rather than just a number. In a similar vein, 39% of consumers favour independents because of the personalised experience they receive, while the same proportion of respondents like them because they offer products that are different to larger retailers.
However, only 22% of consumers currently opt to go to an independent retailer in the first instance to seek out an item, indicating that there is still work to be done if they are going to win over the high street giants. According to nearly half (44%) of respondents, the main area for improvement for independent retailers is offering better value for money, followed by enabling consumers to shop in a way that best suits them through offering online and offline (43%), making themselves more widely known through advertising and marketing (29%), and providing better delivery options (22%).
Top: According to recent research, interest in independent retailers is starting to increase. However, the findings come in the wake of House of Fraser’s decision to close 31 stores.