Business development · 17 May 2016

Small shop owners confident about competing with bigger brands

local business week
The personal touches more likely to be provided by small retailers are valued by consumers

Almost two-thirds of local business owners feel able to compete with established household names, according to new research carried out by Local Business Week.

More than 90 per cent are also sanguine when it comes to their ability to provide value for money to match bigger competitors, the new figures revealed. The results were published to coincide with the seven-day campaign for shopping with local, independent retailers which runs from 16 May to 22 May.

“In Local Business Week’s eleventh year, it is more important than ever to ensure that people are doing what they can to support local businesses,” said organiser Adam Cox.

“This evident shift in people’s perceptions is really important – as it really is better for the community to shop locally, as previous research by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has show – for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized firms, 63p was re-spent in the local area compared to 40p with a larger business. In an age of internet shopping obsession, this week shines a light on the local businesses that bring immense value to the UK.”

Additional new research published by office supplies company Avery highlighted the most common frustrations consumers experience when shopping online – with 64 per cent irritated by excessive packaging. More than one-quarter of those surveyed said packaging and labelling is often not clear on deliveries.

The personal touches more likely to be provided by small retailers are valued highly when it comes to perceptions of ecommerce quality. Over one-third of consumers would be keen on purchasing again from a sender who included a “thank you” card in their order.

“We’ve all experienced the excitement and anticipation of waiting for an online order to arrive, so it’s no surprise the majority of the public feel happy when they receive a parcel. By spending some time on the shipping, this initial feeling of happiness is something online sellers can build on to increase the chances of a positive emotional reaction to their business,” said Avery marketing director Fiona Mills.

Think your small business doesn’t need to bother with customer service? Think again.

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Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.