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Independent shops have a difficult challenge to exist in a market that is primarily populated by known brands and chains. Any entrepreneur who decides to open his or her own independent shop needs to be looking for a survival strategy during the first year. It means that you need to get your shop noticed and to attract enough interested customers to co-exist peacefully with big brands. Sounds easy? Think again. You’re starting with a serious disadvantage as independent shops lack brand awareness, words of mouth promotion, and marketing financing. So how do you get your local shop noticed?
Make it appealing to your customers
Let’s be honest: people tend to choose known brands and chains because they know what to expect. As a new independent shop, you will need to establish your name on the quality of your shopfront. Window shopping is not just a hobby for urban fashionistas; it’s a way for shoppers to evaluate the content of the shop too. Consequently, your display has an essential role in catching people’s eye and convincing them that your shop is worth a visit. Your shop is independent. What this means is that there’s no point trying to emulate the display of big brands such as H&M, Mango or Superdry. Create your own, unique display style so that you can develop a presence that survives the comparison.
Make it easy for people to buy
An independent shop doesn’t have to be synonymous with traditional shopping methods. Nobody expects to pay cash or in cheque anymore. Just imagine that your front window attracts a group of friends who are interested in your items and want to purchase some of them. Do you think they would happily go out to withdraw cash and come back to conclude the purchase if your shop didn’t take cards? Here’s a hint: They wouldn’t. If you need help finding out the best solutions for your shop, check out the product reviews on merchants.services. You can even find pros and cons of Paypal and Sage for merchant businesses.
Create some buzz online
The best way to get your local shop noticed is to make sure that it is visible for Google Maps users, through google.com/business. Google has created the Google My Business function to enable business owners to put their business on the map. Doing so facilitates local and regional awareness. Besides you can connect Google My Business to local reviews and Google +.
Let your customers order online too
Do you know what a local shop means? It means that you’ve got a local address. What it doesn’t mean is that you have to sell only to local people. You can take on the digital sphere using an eCommerce solution, such as magento.com, to introduce your products to a large audience. As Magento even offers an Open Source solution, if you’ve got a developer at hand, you can create a beautiful online presence at a minimum cost. Here again, the focus is on encouraging purchase with easy and practical payment methods: credit cards, Paypal, etc.
Independent shops occupy a magical area in the shopping sector. They are small enough to be creative and quirky. But while they need to maintain the same facilities than large chains in terms of payments, returns, and customer services, their customers tend to be more forgiving of small mistakes than with bigger brand names.