Posted on: 14 December 2020

Encouraging shoppers to shop local rather than at the large chains

Small businesses are the backbone of many of the communities that they serve, but many people still prefer to shop at bigger chain businesses on the perception of ease of access, lower prices or online options – which isn’t always the case!

To keep bringing customers back to your small business, you need to stand out against the large chains. Here are some ways small businesses can achieve this.

Ways to compete with the big chain businesses

1. Invest in your digital presence

It is easier, now more than ever, for small businesses to take their businesses digital, at a low cost or sometimes even free.

Going digital can help you reach a wider audience, but it can also help to make your business more accessible for your local community.

Digital marketing used to be a complex and expensive practice, but getting your business online, using social media such as Facebook, can be free and easy to set up – they just take a little time. A social media presence allows you to connect with your customers but can also help you network with other local businesses.

2. Focus on your business’ reputation

Just because businesses are big by size, doesn’t mean that they are always the best when it comes to reputation.

Building your business by working to get a good reputation will put your ahead of the bigger businesses, especially if you can outperform them on reliability, customer service and quality of products or services.

Having a good reputation will also encourage your customers to spread the word about your business to their friends, family and other contacts, helping to grow your business.

3. The importance of customer service

We already touched on customer service, but it is one of the most important aspects of running a business if you want to build a good relationship with customers.

As a small business, you have the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with customers who you may see regularly, and interact with them by recommending products that they may like.

4. Improve your business using feedback

One of the best ways to make improvements to suit your customers is to take their feedback and implement it.

Bigger businesses may have to go through processes, long-winded bureaucracy and senior management to be able to make changes, but as a small business, you can be flexible to meet the needs of your customers.

Make sure that any feedback that you are given is in line with your business’ values, but take customer feedback seriously.

5. Use branded content

To be seen as an expert in your field, create content with your branding, whether this is a video, image or a blog post.

Think of the things that your customers care most about, or the things that your business needs to be seen as an expert in, and use some creative flair to produce some content that will give your customers an insight into your business.

6. Implement a customer loyalty scheme

Many small businesses have a loyalty scheme in place. You will need to decide on how your customers become eligible for the scheme and what you will reward them with, but a loyalty scheme can encourage customers to keep coming back.

An example of this could be for coffee shops to offer a scheme where if customers buy 6 coffees, they get the next one for free.

Loyalty cards are easy to have mocked up, and customers will enjoy getting a free product after so many visits.

7. Rebrand using some solid design skills

Rebranding your business using some flash design can give the right first impression to potential customers.

Image is important, and making it seem like your business is at the same level as other businesses in your industry can help customers trust your business as an industry expert.

Either employ someone to take care of the design for you, or get in touch with freelancers who can help with logo design, photography or web design.

8. Make your business more accessible

These days, people can shop at big businesses at almost any time and in different ways, such as visiting their premises or shopping online, either with delivery or click and collect.

To make your business more accessible to more customers, consider adding online shopping options to your business, or extending your opening hours to allow people the time to shop with you, or get in touch with you to take advantage of the service you offer.

Business insurance with Premierline

It’s important to make sure that you have the right insurance in place to protect the business that you have built.

Every business is different and has its own business insurance needs and we can arrange cover for many business types from retailers to food and hospitality, hair and beauty to offices. Premierline work with some of the UK’s most well-known insurers to make sure that you are getting the right insurance cover for your business.

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