Being an independent retailer comes with many benefits, including the opportunity to be flexible, creative, and unique. Another bonus? When you have your own shop, you also have the chance to become an integral part of your community.
What’s more idyllic than the “shop around the corner” vibe? Not only can it make you and your employees feel more at home, but engaging in your surrounding community can result in a more loyal customer base.
If you’re a small business with only one location, your goal should always be to rally your community behind what you’re doing. You might have a smaller target audience, but you can still find incredible success with your store if you’re willing to build a brand based on engagement.
Not sure how to do that? Let’s cover a few helpful tips that will make your business an integral part of your neighborhood “hub”.
Becoming a Small Slice of the Community
Though it might sound a little outdated, many small communities still don’t like the idea of “outsiders”. The last thing you want is for your business to stick out negatively. Doing things differently or having a unique approach is okay. But, if your ideas get in the way of the natural feel of the community, it may not go over so well.
How do you combat that? By making your store reflect the community itself. That includes putting together a team that mirrors the way the community looks. The benefits of having a diverse staff include:
- More creativity
- Better customer service
- Greater professional development
Choose to celebrate your differences as a reflection of your surroundings. Potential customers will take notice.
It’s also never a bad idea to prioritize things that are important to your neighbors and target audience. In a tight-knit neighborhood, that typically includes things like keeping the crime rate down. As a shop owner, you should definitely be able to get behind that.
Protecting your store with alarm systems and cameras is one thing. But, showing your community you care about everyone’s safety is good for your image, and can really help you get to know some locals. Join a neighborhood watch or start one up if there isn’t one in your neighborhood. Keeping your community safe benefits everyone.
Building Brand Recognition
If you really want to see local success, it’s important to make your brand recognizable throughout your community. Building brand awareness can start online through things like:
- Creating a strong website
- Interacting on social media
- Using advertisements
But, if you want your brand to be integrated into your community, consider doing things that will develop customer loyalty and make you a household name with the locals.
That might include things like hosting events or creating loyalty programs for frequent shoppers. Something as simple as a punch card that can give customers a discount or free products can be enticing enough for them to return again and again.
Existing customers spend 67% more than new customers, and in a small town, that means a lot when it comes to the success of your brand. The beauty of a small business is that you have the full creative rights to build and boost loyalty however you see fit.
The economy wasn’t necessarily on the side of small businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, though, the independent retailer spirit is thriving. People are excited to shop locally and spend their money with a business they know and trust, rather than a major corporation. You can take advantage of that by fully immersing yourself in your local community. You’ll get to know your neighbors, you’ll build a better customer base, and you’ll see more long-term success.