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Why consumers are switching to shop small & how can we keep them coming

According to a recent survey by small business lender Liberis, 8 out of 10 consumers prefer using a smaller, independent business over larger stores. Liberis carried out the survey to discover consumer attitudes towards small businesses. 65% of respondents noted that although ‘independents’ can be more expensive, the benefits outweighed the costs as almost half (48%) said they shopped small to help boost their local economy and support their community.

Convenience and leisure are the main reasons why people choose a small business

58 per cent of respondents said they use a grocery and convenience store the most, with clothing, jewellery, books, music and gift retailers being the second most utilised businesses at 45%. This suggests that consumers are happy to spend their disposable income at smaller, leisure focused establishments.

The primary reason for shopping small was due to convenience, suggesting that locality is still advantageous for many purchases and indeed the success of your business. However, almost 50 per cent of those polled said that they shop small to support independent establishments, indicating that this plays an important role in buying decisions.

A personalised, friendly service is what gives ‘small’ the edge

51% of those polled said there is a noticeable difference between the quality of customer service offered in small businesses compared to larger stores. One respondent said “small stores seem more genuine and go out their way to help you” and another said at “smaller stores the service is more personal”, suggesting that in order to be competitive against bigger brands, your business must continue to provide a memorable and tailored customer service.

Price and a limited product selection can turn customers away

Half of consumers said that a ’limited product range’ selection is the number one drawback to using a small business. Almost half said that smaller stores tend to be more expensive, which was their second highest concern.

Very few people stated brand penetration (e.g. online offering, household name and peer recommendations) as an influential factor in their decision to support a small business, where historically, being a household name has gone in a larger brand’s favour. However, when asked why consumers shop at larger stores, price was the number reason at 47 per cent.

Check out this infographic from Liberis which shows their research in full (click to enlarge and zoom).

Liberis-inforgraphic-consumer-shop-small-independent-florist-magazine