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The findings of a new poll have made it clear to kinex that more UK shoppers are taking their business to independent retailers, especially when shopping online.
Customer experience consultancy The Leadership Factor (TLF) recently conducted some research for myHermes, the parcel delivery company. TFL questioned 2,000 adults from across the UK on their shopping habits and attitudes towards independent retailers. Respondents expressed positive views towards independent shops, with over a third (38%) agreeing with the statement “independent retailers offer better customer service.”
Online publication Smallbusiness reported that the survey suggests one in five UK shoppers use independent retailers more now than they did a year ago. Over half (55%) of those questioned said they shop at independent stores at least once a week, and 13% claimed they actively try to bring their business to independent retailers.
Physical shops are still really popular with UK consumers; 83% admitted they shop with in-store independent retailers. However, internet shopping is becoming more popular, 33% of the poll’s respondents said they shop with online independent retailers, partly thanks to the rising popularity of online marketplaces such as Etsy and eBay.
Nearly half of those people aged 25 – 34 surveyed (49%) said they would be likely to shop online with independent retailers. The second most likely age group to shop online with independent retailers was 18 – 24 year olds, suggesting that this consumer trend will continue in the next few years. The rise in popularity of the independent retailer may be a result of the increasing ease of accessing these types of stores online. Nearly a quarter (22%) of those surveyed said the internet makes it easier to buy goods through independent retailers.
Commenting on the release of the research, Joanne Morley, head of marketing at myHermes said: “We’re encouraged by the results of this research that show not only do we shop with independent retailers more than we did a year ago, but many of us are actively looking to support independent retailers over the retail giants.”
Morley went on to explain how larger online stores such as Amazon are changing the British high street and posing new challenges for smaller internet-based companies. Elaborating, she commented: “This research helps independent business owners understand what they need to do to grow in an increasingly competitive marketplace and attract new customers, both online and offline.”
The research also showed which factors are most likely to persuade consumers to go independent. ‘Proximity’ was the most popular – 48% of those questioned said they were more likely to visit independent retailers close to their homes. ‘Recommendations from friends and family’ followed, at 40%. Meanwhile ‘trusted payment options’ was cited by 33% of those questioned, and at 29% apiece, ‘trusted delivery options’ and a ‘well-functioning website’ also ranked highly.
So its good news for small independent shops, especially those based online. A significant number of UK consumers say they like to shop at independent stores, meaning that the retail giants don’t completely dominate the market. But smaller independents need to focus on providing first rate customer service to ensure they can keep up in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
It’s vital that small online retailers invest in effective broadband services, such as those provided by kinex. In the survey, consumers suggested that a “well-functioning website” is one of the factors that would persuade them to frequent independent retailers. So SMEs which utilise e-commerce platforms to generate sales require effective digital infrastructure to ensure they supply consumers with a pleasant online shopping experience.
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