Despite the shift to online shopping and the ability to reach consumers in all four corners of the world, there is a renewed interest in spotlighting local brands.
In a bid to rid themselves of “shelf samey-ness”, retailers are branching out to create hyper-targeted experiences for customers on the hunt for something unique. They no longer want to mimic the retailers of yesteryear whose shelves were almost identical to look at. Instead, they’re keen to cherrypick the best local brands.
The death of big-name department stores and the ease of researching and buying from direct-to-consumer brands has led consumers to a new way of shopping: experience first. Dojo’s recent marketing report shows that a third of UK shoppers look for a memorable experience while shopping–and they’ll pay more for it. 28% more, on average. For retailers, offering unique local brands can be an excellent way to create memorable shopping experiences.
Independent retailers give our digital streets diversity
Independent retailers are what give our high streets (and digital streets) diversity. They are often the window into new brands and introduce brick-and-mortar shoppers to products they otherwise would never come across. As an independent retailer, you know how important the customer journey is. If you want to stand out, you have to offer a unique experience that can’t be replicated elsewhere.
9 reasons retailers should invest in local brands
1. The trickle-down effect
More Brits than ever buy locally. In fact, 88% of UK consumers prefer to shop at small, local, or independent businesses than larger chains. 41% said this is because they like to see their money having a direct impact on their local community and 39% claimed service is better with small and independent businesses.
On top of this, UK consumers are putting climate change at the front of every decision they make. They check their carbon footprint, research how many miles their food has travelled, and seek out sustainable brands.
Promoting local brands shows shoppers you’re on the same wavelength and, by packing your shelves full of meaningful, local products, you’re going to attract more customers who share this mindset.
Crane & Kind in Sidmouth, for example, understands the importance of shopping locally. They source products from brands to sell to customers who are seeking a unique, local experience.
2. Reduce your carbon footprint
Local products don’t have to travel as far–it’s simple maths. Sourcing products from your favourite local brands uses less petrol and ultimately pumps fewer emissions into the atmosphere. It’s far better for the environment to ship products from the next town over than it is to get them sent from another country. This is particularly important when consumers actively seek out retailers with a low carbon footprint.
3. Cost-effective shipping and delivery
Buying from local brands doesn’t just reduce your carbon footprint when it comes to shipping and delivery, but it also reduces costs. It’s a no-brainer that having a product shipped from the US, Asia, or Australia is going to cost far more than it would if it was sourced from a local brand.
4. Quality standards are consistent
Vying with international quality standards and control can be a nightmare. But if you buy locally, you know you’re going to get a product that’s on par with your own standards. Certain goods have to meet strict regional and national standards, so you can rest assured that the local cheese you’ve stocked your shelves with or the vegan wrapping paper you’re interested in hits those criteria.
When you buy from abroad or further afield, it can be harder to know what processes are involved in manufacturing and what chemicals and byproducts are a part of the design.
5. Unique and quirky product selection
Who wants a store filled with the exact same products as the shop round the corner? Where’s the competitive edge in that? Choosing to shop local unlocks access to unique, quirky products that thrive in your local area. Handpicking products that suit the needs of your customer base creates a unique experience that shoppers can’t get elsewhere.
The Triangle Store chooses to work with brands with products that fit its aesthetic and design style.
6. Relationship-building opportunities
Networking is so much easier when you’re in the same space. Putting a face to a name and engaging in person is invaluable for business and can open up partnerships and collaborations that just wouldn’t happen with miles of airspace in between. Choosing to work with brands in your local community leads to strong connections, trades in knowledge and expertise, and the chance to support one another.
“Our relationships with our retail partners work as a joint approach; acknowledging the fact that they are experts in retailing and we are watchmaking experts — which works in a well-balanced way,” says David Edwards, the managing director of Seiko UK in this piece on the Financial Times.
7. Sell to a tight-knit community and loyal fans
Local brands often have an established, loyal customer base. By association, trust and credibility automatically transfer to your store, bringing in a wave of staunch fans who keep coming back and, better yet, recommend your shop to their friends and family. Not only does this create deeper customer relationships, but it helps you understand your customers better and leverage the power of word-of-mouth marketing to increase your store’s visibility.
Ultimately, this can lead to a sense of belonging and a community, which is the bread and butter of any business that wants to survive through these difficult times.
“To be an independent business in the UK is a privilege and a blessing – we get to build a community of consumers who become an integral part of our mission to serve and invigorate high-street retail,” says Joel Adebayo, the co-founder of Not Just Another Store, in The Guardian.
8. Invest in other small businesses
Independents supporting independents keep small businesses afloat and, in many cases, thriving. Let’s briefly backtrack to sustainability as an example. Big brands have the funds to be more green and create an expensive but effective sustainable ecosystem. Smaller brands? Not so much. It’s the same for other areas of business, where independents rely on partnering with and investments from other businesses to reach their goals.
On top of this, independent brands have taken a battering over the past few years and many have struggled to stay afloat. Buying from local brands is a tangible way of voting with your wallet and showing them you love what they do.
9. Better customer service
39% of consumers in the Simply Business survey said independent brands provide better customer service. And, while this is true from the customer’s side, it’s also true from the retailer’s side. It’s far easier to communicate with a local business that operates in the same vicinity than it is with a brand at a different timezone on the other side of the world. This makes arranging to ship, placing new orders, and negotiating deals much simpler and quicker.
Finding local brands with Faire
At Faire, it’s our mission to empower independent retailers. We simplify the wholesale buying process and introduce you to excellent brands both locally and further afield so you can create a unique and exciting shopping experience for your customers.
When searching for brands on Faire, you can filter the results to show products in the UK or take it one step further and type in your town, city, or county.
When you invest in local brands, you’re investing in the local community and providing a unique experience for every single shopper. This ultimately increases loyalty, satisfaction levels, and sales.