Coulter looks at why customers want to buy from their local independent and how you can earn their trust...

John Coulter: Why we buy

Target Components business adviser John Coulter discusses how customers want to shop at their local indie, they just need to trust them first.

An indie recently told me: “Price is my USP”. He also spoke about how customers valued his expertise. “You sure?” I asked. It was plain he didn’t get the conflict in what he’d said. Other indies I’ve seen at odds with themselves include: ‘your local IT store’ with little on the shelves or ‘the IT professional’ with scrappy handwritten signs in the window.

Many indies claim customers only care about price. This clearly isn’t true: you’d already be out of business because they’d all be on the internet. No, provided your price is fair there are many other things that turn prospects into customers. Things like the ability to try out the purchase through to feeling you’d be okay if they needed to come back for some reason.

Our surveys show over 80 per cent of the public want to shop with independents. Yet many of you struggle to get your fair share. Your battle is not with the big guys over price – our recent Price Comparison survey shows you’re far better value. No, the issue is prospects don’t know they can trust you. And since they’d rather not risk it they stay put.

Everything about you and your business speaks to people. Your job is to make certain what gets ‘said’ makes it impossible for prospects not to consider you. To stop them thinking ‘should I shop there’ and only ‘I have to shop there’. Getting people to think like this is far easier than you think. And the place to start is to sort out what you’re already saying about yourself that conflicts. Need help? Visit Shop Talk at the Target website and read ‘That makes more sense’.

John Coulter is Business Adviser at Target Components, providing business services for free and without obligation. Contact John on 07854 195 718 or

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