It’s certainly no secret that British High Street businesses are struggling year on year with the growth of online retailers who can offer far more choice and often, for a lot less. The current High Street retail model simply doesn’t seem to be working anymore and regardless of where you live, local shops are constantly falling prey to bigger brands.
As e-commerce advances and becomes more innovative, the gap created between online sellers storming ahead and the flailing high street shops left behind gets uncomfortably bigger. According to the ParcelHero Industry Report: 2030: The Death of the High Street, it is predicted that our much-loved town centre’s will one day be nothing but a distant memory.
The report goes on to predict that by 2030, half of the UK’s shops will have disappeared, and the future looks bleak for estate agents and banks alike thanks to the Apps available at the just the touch of a fingertip.
But that doesn't mean that your small high street can't thrive. Nothing beats being able to try on a new outfit and buy it within the same half hour and a lot of community support can be drummed up with the right attitude and offers in place.
If you want to get ahead of the big brands this summer, read on to learn about the different ways in which you can impress customers and what you can offer that large corporations cannot.
The key to optimising your sales and profits is having the right pricing strategy in place. Having prices that are too high will push potential customers to your competitors, yet prices that are too low might give the wrong impression about your products and services.
Pricing should be one of the most important considerations for your business and the way in which you price your products will have a direct impact on how much you sell. If you get your pricing right, it could result in a huge sales boost for your business this summer but get it wrong and the slump in sales could result in you starting off the festive season on the back-foot.
Conducting a comprehensive pricing analysis is a vital step that can’t be missed. According to recent research, 87% of UK retail purchases are made online. This ties in with the idea that buyers are driven most by value for money and consumers are willing to compare various prices to ensure they get the best deals.
In fact, 57% of Brits say that when looking on price-comparison websites, price is the number one factor. So, with that in mind, it is essential that you prioritise perfecting your pricing strategy as the cost of what your business offers will make a huge difference to how successful your SME is.
Research how much your competitors are charging, both online and offline and then try to beat that price. Whilst you might not be able to lower your prices to less than what huge online brands are charging, you might be able to lower them enough that consumers choose an instant buy in your High Street store over waiting for a delivery.
If you don’t distinguish yourself from other bigger brands, then why would consumers opt to buy from your company instead of more well-known brands? Bigger companies might have the advantage of being bigger with more budget to spend on marketing, but your smaller size can work in your favour.
Bigger brands are far more restricted than your SME and they are unlikely to be able to offer the same service your High Street business can. Instead of trying to offer exactly what bigger companies do, find your niche and specialise in whatever that is. You can use your deeper levels of expertise and knowledge to impress your customers so that they keep returning time and time again.
Think about what you can offer that bigger brands can’t. If you’re a small restaurant, perhaps you offer food that is obtained exclusively from local providers. If you own a boutique clothing store, provide free personal styling sessions with a glass of champagne. Give customers a reason to come to you rather than flocking to bigger stores - or online, instead.
One brilliant way to beat bigger brands this summer is to team up with another local business. Joining forces with another local small business will give customers a reason to shop on the high street rather than doing it online.
You can approach other high street businesses to see if they’d be interested in doing a joint promotion. If you offer food, you could team up with another small hospitality business, such as a cocktail bar or beer garden who could offer reduced drinks in conjunction with eating at your restaurant.
If you own a hair salon, you could speak with a local beautician to see if they would be interested in joining forces to offer weekend pamper packages as you’re both targeting the same demographic.
We wrote a blog a while back discussing how customer service should be your priority and if you are unsure about how to deliver excellence, check out our helpful tips within the article. The business landscape has developed a lot from decades ago where customer engagements were product orientated and predominantly focused on pricing alone.
These days, businesses prioritise customer interaction and providing customers with a service that is unforgettable comes in at the top of the priority list. According to studies on customer service, 70% of the customer’s journey is based on how the customer feels they were being treated and a whopping 93% are likely to make a repeat purchase from companies who offer excellent customer service.
When hiring customer facing staff, make sure they have all the qualities you want in someone engaging regularly with your customer base. It’s also important to ensure your employees represent your brand exactly how you need for your business to project the kind of image you have in mind.
Earning and keeping customer loyalty is one of the hardest parts of running a business – but it is also the most important. Bringing new customers to your business is difficult but people are curious creatures, so when a new bar or clothes retailer opens in town, it’s hard to not pop in for a quick browse. Making sure that the same people come back is where the hard work begins...
Creating a customer loyalty program is a simple way to retain your customer base. Rewarding your customers will give them a reason to keep coming back and something as simple as providing discounts through a membership card will work wonders for your profit margins.
If you want to compete against bigger brands, it is essential that you accept various types of payment methods as a lot of people choose not to carry cash around with them these days. Therefore, if your High Street business has not yet made the step to accepting card payments, it must do so now if it is to keep up with its competitors, as accepting card payments is crucial for small businesses in the UK.
The process of accepting card payments has never been easier but if you are still unsure on a few aspects such as which are the best card machines to use, read this informative guide from The UK Cards Association.
Another great benefit of using card payments for your small business is that you can then access a popular funding product to grow and expand your business, should you ever want to.
A Business Cash Advance allows your company to borrow money based on its future revenue. Unlike a standard business loan with rigid repayment terms, businesses pay back a percentage of their daily earnings through their card machines, so your small business is never paying back what it isn’t earning.
The most important thing to remember when trying to compete with big brands and online retailers is that you need to give customers a reason to come to you. With ordering online more effortless than ever, customers don’t even need to get dressed to complete any sort of shopping, whether that is food deliveries, clothes orders or even large household items.
Making the experience fun will give your customers a reason to get out of the house and into the High Street. Bakeries that walk the streets with free treats to lure customers in tend to perform better than those who don’t. Giving away mini bottles of lotion and shampoo will give you an opportunity to speak with your customers and to leave a lasting impression – something huge brands can’t do so easily.
If you are experiencing cash flow challenges or want to realise your business growth plans, get in touch with our team of Funding Specialists today on 020 7839 9451 or email [email protected]