The Challenge for Small Towns

It’s tough being a big player in retail. Not only are you under huge pressure – to give great service, to compete on price, to deliver to your shareholders – but you are constantly seeing your results analysed and dissected in the press and on business radio.

It’s tougher being an independent. To win customers and keep them loyal you either have to give even greater service or you need to have products that people can’t get elsewhere, either because they are unique or because they are such high quality. You will struggle to compete on price.

There are, however, other things that independents can do to compete, in particular in small towns where they are the dominant type of business. Cooperate. Work together so that their combined offering is even more unique. It helps if the entire town is clean, tidy, attractive and safe. If they have things that attract people to the town rather than just to individual shops – events, cultural locations or ‘destination shops’ that people will travel to for their offerings. It helps if the town as a whole works together to market and advertise itself – both through traditional media and online. And it helps if there is a body to coordinate all of that activity, even better if it has money to spend doing it.

It helps if there is a BID.
Ian Faulkner
The Wimborne BID

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