Everybody likes Independent shops. Even those people who never cross the threshold of such businesses would undoubtedly say they are great fans of them if ever questioned in a survey about their shopping habits.
What this says about surveys is that they have to be treated with a little dose of scepticism – some more so than others. One piece of research that sounds like it has an air of reality about it and the results are worrying for small independent retailers comes from Worldpay.
Over the Christmas period it found consumers had a preference to shop at larger retailers because of the failure of smaller players to offer digital experiences. Almost a third (28%) stated they would choose a large retailer over a smaller independent because the latter make it more difficult to research and buy goods online.
In addition, 36% said a lack of delivery options, concerns over availability of items in-store, and inflexible returns policies keep them from using small local independents. This highlights how important it is becoming for retailers of all sizes to take a more multi-channel approach.
Although it can be onerous for smaller retailers to commit the necessary time and resources to developing their own fully functioning websites and all the accompanying bells and whistles there are partnerships that can be struck, which can ease the workload and reduce costs.
The likes of Tictail, Hubbub and Just Eat are just some examples of a whole generation of businesses that have emerged with the objective of empowering independents to enable them to compete more effectively with the big boys.
They give small operators many of the digitally-related tools that would typically be beyond their reach – such as robust websites with rich functionality, varied payment capabilities, and access to delivery infrastructures.
Just like consumers, smaller businesses have never had so many options. There really should, therefore, be no excuses for them to not offer some form of digital experience to shoppers.
Glynn Davis, editor, Retail Insider
K3 Retail deliver multi-channel solutions that enable retailers to create joined up shopping experiences for their customers whether they choose to buy on-line, direct, in-store or via mobile. It has over 20 years’ experience delivering award winning solutions, to more than 175 internationally recognised retail brands.