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We sadly received news today that one of our trade customers - a small gift shop - had called in the receivers. After 15 years of trading they were finding times too tough to continue.
There was a list of reasons why life was tough for them including internet shopping / low foot fall / high car-parking charges - the list went on.
I understand these reasons - and we hear them often - however, we also know many shops, small and large, who are not just surviving, they are growing very well.
So what is the difference?
There is an interesting article in the Guardian today entitled "What small business can learn from the High Street' ... worth a read, not least to stimulate your own thinking. The link to the article can be found at the bottom of this blog.
Our own experience is very clear.
High Street Retailers who are doing well understand their own customers very well. They encourage them to keep coming back through loyalty schemes / personal service / great products and that special service. They make the customer feel great.
These retailers know that the internet exists so they stop complaining about it and simply do things their own way. They may well start their own internet shop, they offer the price of parking back to customers who buy from them, they wrap the gifts, they talk to the customer and give them an experience, they give something extra ... but what they do not do is discount heavily to compete.
We were saddened to hear of our own customer's demise today, but we are heartened by so many trade customers who do have a clear brand and offer fantastic products and service ... success is there for the taking and is in your own hands.
Life matters ... pass it on
Here is the link to the Guardian's article http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2013/sep/20/how-to-be-as-successful-as-big-high-street-brands