Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) that are looking to increase footfall and visibility can capitalise on the growing demand for local stores. According to new research by Groupon, British consumers want to see more small, independent shops on the high street, instead of department stores.
The high street is a well-established symbol of business success, wealth and brand recognition, where household names congregate for consumer convenience. An overwhelming majority of consumers utilise the high street. Nearly a third of shoppers shop at chain stores once a week, while 40 per cent say they go a few times every month.
However, many are calling for smaller, independent shops where they can do their grocery shopping. Locally sourced produce would lend transparency to an industry in which supply chain problems have damaged consumer confidence.
Additionally, 56 per cent of customers want to see more local cafes where they can have a quick bite to eat, while 52 per cent would prefer independent salons for their beauty needs.
As many as 87 per cent of shoppers believe some sort of high street regeneration is necessary, with 40 per cent hoping for a major overhaul.
Surprisingly, the older generation appears to be more in favour of changes than people aged 18 to 24. More than half of consumers over the age of 55 want a high street shakeup, compared to only a quarter of younger consumers.
Managing director of Groupon UK, Roy Blanga, is heartened by the steadfast connection shoppers have with the high street. He’s especially pleased by the fact that Brits want to see more independent stores in high traffic commercial areas.
However, significant investment is needed if these small, local shops are to compete against national chain stores. “Business owners should also be thinking about how to make their offer stand out both on and offline to deliver better value and customer service. This two-pronged approach is vital if our high streets are to flourish,” Mr Blanga said.
Business start up advice for SMEs looking to make it on the high street focuses on balanced bookkeeping and attracting investors. In addition, marketing, raising awareness and interacting with the consumer base are essential strategies for success. The demand is there – it’s up to independent business owners like you to capitalise on it.