Small Business Saturday- 5th
December

Article supplied by Rural shops alliance

Small Business Saturday UK is a grass roots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities. The day itself takes place on the first shopping Saturday in December each year, but the campaign aims to have a lasting impact on small businesses.

It has been reported that Small Business Saturday 2014 was a great success with 16.5 million people shopping in a small independent business on that day, representing a 20% increase on the previous year or an extra 2.7 million more shoppers. Research has also indicated that 64% of UK consumers were aware of the day (a rise of 33% on the previous year). There was also increased activity on social media last year with around 3.5 million Facebook views.

So with such a high level of awareness it would seem sensible to join in and take advantage of this day specifically designed to help the small business and to get people to “shop local”.

To find out more go to the dedicated website www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com and don’t forget to let others know what you are doing on social media by using the hashtag #SmallBizSatUK

Local produce the key to differentiation

Article by Sharon Davies

Shopping habits are changing and consumers are becoming far more discerning. Moving away from the big weekly shop , shoppers are cottoning onto the fact that buy-one-get-one-free offers means that fridges are still full of wilting and out-of-date produce at the end of the week. Shoppers realise that buying less more frequently means less waste and spend.

Convenience stores are the most popular place for ‘top up’ shopping with 60% of shoppers using them for this type of trip, according to IGD’s latest Shopper Vista research. However, competition to capture this top-up spend is intensifying; in addition to convenience stores, some 42% of shoppers now also use supermarkets for top-ups, 31% visit food discounters and 22% use high street discounters.

Research suggests that shoppers don’t always trust the local c-store to supply certain categories and therefore will travel further to buy foods such as fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables from the local supermarket. C-stores are however ahead for staple top-up items such as bread, milk and eggs. Many of the big stores realise they need to target the ‘little and often’ spend and have rearranged their layouts to deliver an easier, convenience-style shop for people who just want to pop in for a few things.

Consumers living in urban locations were likely to visit convenience stores more frequently than those living in suburban or village/rural locations, while village dwellers, particularly older consumers, were more likely to shop on a traditional weekly or monthly basis. And while 90% of those living in rural locations had done some form of top-up shopping, this was more likely to be in a larger superstore than a convenience store. It would appear shoppers in rural locations predominately use convenience stores as distress destinations or to fill the gap between larger shops, meaning that basket sizes are lower than in urban areas. It’s evidently not enough that your shop is the nearest – It seems that some local people need a more compelling reason to visit.

So how can Rural shops combat this and try to attract a bigger share of this top-up trade? As they are primarily a distress destination (helping shoppers out of a fix) longer opening hours are important, rural retailers need to encourage more frequent visits by using new technology. “Acting as a click-and-collect point or incorporating a post office service can increase footfall in rural areas and ultimately increase the chance of impulse buying,” .The introduction of local produce is often a big attraction and a great way to encourage customers to purchase more fresh food from you. Thus reducing the need to visit a superstore. So in summary although it is important for C- stores to be keen on price, it’s also important to find ways to differentiate themselves from the superstores. IGD research backs this up; it says shoppers want more from local stores, such as a commitment to the community or by supporting local producers.

So how will the future retail scene pan out? Most analysts agree that the shift towards convenience stores, discounters and internet retailing sees no signs of disappearing over the long term, with more growth for Aldi and Lidl, and a greater uptake of online shopping.

On a positive note, Him! expects local shopping to continue to grow as standards rise along with shoppers’ broadening perceptions of what they can use c-stores for.

For information about Kent producers visit www.producedinkent.co.uk or call 01732 853170

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