'Retail Champion' Clare Rayner is urging independent retailers to celebrate their individuality and make an impact on the local community with a host of footfall-boosting activities during Independent Retailer Month.
July marks the UK’s third Independent Retailer Month, aiming to raise awareness of thousands of local businesses and increase footfall into town and village centres, helping retailers to stay open for business, and to improve collaboration between local traders.
The month-long celebration calls upon retailers to unite and create promotions, activities and events to capture the imagination of the local community, reminding people exactly what their local centres have to offer them, and, as the founder of the Support for Independent Retail, Clare is committed to helping them do just that.
“This campaign is now in its third year and it couldn’t be more important," she says. "Just last month it was revealed that the number of empty shops across the UK has hit an all-time high according to the British Retail Consortium, and the Centre for Retail Research forecast that by 2018 one in five shops could have disappeared from our high streets. The only way to try and stem further closures is for retailers to be proactive, not only reminding local customers that they’re here, but to give them more reasons to visit.”
All retailers taking part in Independent Retailer Month have access to a range of free downloadable materials and resources, from promotional posters and window stickers to media liaison templates to encourage them to tell the local community what they’ll be doing this July to tempt customers and generate more footfall, and even thank-you cards to show their gratitude to existing and new customers.
Clare adds: “It is just one month until Independent Retailer Month starts, so I’m hoping all local businesses will spend that time planning a few stand-out activities to attract new customers and win customer loyalty. For our part, the campaign team will share every independent retail event at www.independentretailermonth.co.uk/events, keeping shoppers updated on what they can expect to see in their town or village and help drive footfall further.
“Anything that boosts positivity and increases camaraderie within a community of traders could be the medicine they need to keep going. Some of the ideas that retailers have come up with so far this year are brilliant – everything from live music in-house to exclusive discounts during July to money-saving vouchers to redeem in August for those who spend during July, and other retailers should follow that example and make the local village or town centre the first port of call again.
“There are more than 192,000 independent retail businesses in the UK, and almost 250,000 premises are occupied by them – the more of them who take part in Independent Retailer Month to celebrate their input and impact into the retail environment, the stronger they will become.”
Thousands of Independent retailers across the UK are expected to participate in this year’s activities. Retailers interested in taking part can stay up to date with all the activities by following @IndieRetailUK on Twitter, by visiting the Facebook page or by subscribing to www.independentretailermonth.co.uk.