The Growing Trend of Shopping Local

Covid definitely forced a number of customers to shop local due to various travel restrictions. This provided a huge opportunity for these businesses to showcase their products and services. Now that restrictions are lifted, customers can shop anywhere, however the local strip shops certainly have an appeal that they need to continue to focus on.

Why are customers seeking local businesses?

People want better relationships with their business providers. Customers know that local businesses don’t (or can’t) compete on price, but they can in their ability to provide a certain level of service and a personalised experience to their customers. They are also conscious of where the product is sourced from, and direct from local farms has a huge appeal to customers. It’s why customers buy, and it’s why many are using local vs. large national competitors.

So how can a small business meet the expectations?

If you want to differentiate yourself, you have to understand not just what customers want from a product or service, but how they want that product or service delivered and the kind of relationship they want to have with your company. Technology has advanced such that it’s pretty easy for people to connect with their small-business partners and, similarly, for small businesses to connect with their customers. There’s a wide range of opportunities—including online communications, social media and customer reviews—for small businesses to play up their service, locality and personalisation, as well as how important customers are to a smaller business, relative to a big company.

Creating an experience
Whether it’s online or face to face, as customers are certainly doing both, the experience has to be great, otherwise you run the risk of losing that customer. The research totally supports the need for a local business (in fact any business) to create an experience that customers don’t get elsewhere – it’s actually not that hard. As is mentioned above, it’s about finding out what your customers want, how they want it delivered and what kind of relationship they want.

To do this you and your staff have to get to know them – talk to them, recognise when they are returning customers, ask for their feedback and how you could improve – if you do you might discover a gold nugget that propels your business forward.

My key steps for creating a truly positive experience:

• Find out what your customers want
• Make sure your team are on board by setting clear expectations with them
• Follow up with the team to make sure they are living the expectations
• Provide regular feedback – particularly positive feedback to all team members.

Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.