According to a new survey commissioned by thebestof.co.uk – the UK’s leading marketer for great local businesses – the majority of Brits believe their local high street is in decline and Supermarkets are responsible.
Parking is an issue with over 50% of those surveyed saying that free parking would make them shop locally more regularly. 30% also asked for more parking, certainly an issue in Henley. I drove around a car park in Henley 3 times on Saturday afternoon looking for a space and finally gave up and went to Tesco!! I'm live near enough to Henley Town Centre to walk into town if I need things usually as I know parking is an issue during the main part of the day.
A further 60 per cent of those that took the survey agree that the Government isn’t doing enough to encourage and support small retailers.
The survey comes in contrast to the latest CBI figures which actually suggest high street sales are up, with 58% of retailers saying that the volume of sales rose during October.
It’s interesting that there is still a strong perception that the high street is in decline – especially when it comes to local retailers and small businesses. With the rise in VAT next year this could become an even bigger issue.’
There are many ways that local shops can compete with major chains. For example, by setting up special offers specific to the local area, and by building a reputation as a local champion you can really capture the imagination of the community.
There are many things local high street shops can do to boost revenue’s and footfall:
1. Build and nurture your database of customers so you can keep in touch with them in creative ways. Email, text and social media are all powerful tools that most local retailers don’t utilise properly, if at all;
2. Provide really fantastic service to create ambassadors for your business amongst local customers;
3. Reward loyalty. So few local businesses do this but it’s easy and it’s core to the strategies of all the big chains like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Boots. Learn from them;
4. Position your business as one of the best, by shouting about accreditations, certificates and showing off all the great testimonials from your customers. Turning your customers into ‘local celebrities’ can work wonders;
5. Take responsibility. If there are not enough customers coming into your shop then it’s your job to make it happen. Find a way to make yourself interesting and enticing to local people. Sitting back and waiting for government or councils to do something is a surefire recipe for failure.
Interestingly 84% of people who took part in the survey said that local High Streets are a vital part of a healthy society. Maybe we need to do our bit to aupport them.
Member since: 9th July 2012
Hi, We are Phil and Gill Chappell. We own the Best of Henley-on-Thames. We live in Henley so would love to hear your views and opinions about all things Henley.