Building a healthy, long-term rapport with your local community is, as a retailer, essential to success. In addition to developing a loyal customer base that will shop regularly within your store, it also enables you to passively build an extended relationship with others via online platforms and word-of-mouth. Even as stores begin to merge their services and products with online sales, they are still motivated to support their local area as customers seek out local alternatives to e-commerce options.
If you are a new retail presence in your local area or perhaps feel that your shop might not be doing enough to motivate local loyalty, then we have the tips that improve your community relationship.
Embrace Local Design
When choosing to style your store, from its wall displays to retail furniture, balance your brand aesthetic with that of local celebration. If your store could be opened at any location and with the same design, then there is less reason for your local community to value it. Choosing to incorporate local designs, whether materials or colours, is an effective way of showcasing your connection to the local area. Choosing to construct a slatwall display made from the wood of local trees is a detail that would not go unnoticed, and the same goes for display stand offs. However, an even more effective way to accomplish this is to collaborate with local designers to create your interior design.
More Than Products
As a retail venue, you host a local space that has the potential for more than simply selling products. Depending on your product or service, there are often a number of features and events, those built around ‘experiential retail’, that you can host, opening your store up to the public and creating a more valuable use of your space and facilities.
This, for example, is a technique often seen in bookshops, which host book clubs and author events in store, serving to both entertain the public and promote sales. Other retail businesses do this to great success too, such as culinary stores that host cooking sessions.
Using your store as a platform for local products helps to support creatives and artisans in your region, while simultaneously tying your stock directly to the area. Products can be as simple as hosting local illustrators in your greeting card or pamphlet selection, offering locally produced delicacies on your checkout area, or dedicating part of your CD shelves to the music of community musicians.
It might seem counterintuitive to build a more established online presence when trying to promote your brick and mortar store but social media groups, especially those that are dedicated to neighbourhoods and regions, are ideal for local businesses to be involved in. Find your regional groups online and begin connecting and interacting with locals, while refraining from advertising directly. As residents begin to recognise your business and its relationship with the local community, they will reward it with custom.