Clare Rayner suggests offering vouchers, discounts or free PC surgeries to keep customers coming back

“Its time to start changing customer habits,” says Retail Champion

Indies can do more to help change shoppers’ online shopping habits by keeping them visiting local stores throughout the year, says ‘Retail Champion’ Clare Rayner.

She presents Independent Retailer Month each year in the UK in July.

“The reason for [the initiative] being a whole month rather than say a day or week, is that it can take up to six weeks to establish a new habit,” she told PCR. “If we keep re-engaging customers and keep them coming back then we’ll actually begin to start changing customer habits over time.”

Rayner’s suggestions to independent retailers included serving up overhanging offers to keep people returning to the store to redeem vouchers or discounts throughout August. However, she stated that it’s not all about short-term discounts, but rather showcasing what you can offer in the long term.

“Retailers needs to think about what it is they can do to make sure that they engage with the right kind of customer – ones that maybe aren’t just looking for a deal or discount, but are seeing what’s on offer for the long term,” she added.

Independent Retailer Month encourages indies to build relationships with customers and offer help and advice. And Rayner believes that shoppers are still willing to spend a little more for the right support. “PC retailers can choose to run free PC surgeries after closing time or they might offer free computer health checks,” she advised. “It’s the little meaningful things that make long-term customers.”

While the event has only just ended, August is the month where those who took part will see the benefits of the creative offers and services they put in place. Those retailers who took part in the event had access to a range of free material and resources, including promotional posters, window stickers and media liaison templates, to get those customers back through their doors.

Rayner says there are more than 192,000 independent retail businesses in the UK, and almost 250,000 premises are occupied by them.

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