With Independent Retailer Month in full swing, the driving force behind the initiative is calling on brands to recognize the opportunities available to engage with a consumer base and support the campaign.
Retail Champion Clare Rayner, who launched Independent Retailer Month in 2011, said that while it was imperative that shoppers threw their support behind the drive to revive local village and town centres, there was enormous potential for brands to lead by example, while engaging with a national consumer-base.
“Large brands understand the influence that a network of good, proactive independent retailers can have on customer perception of their brands, and they have the marketing clout to really throw their weight behind initiatives like Independent Retailer Month to help drive home to the consumer the unique, exclusive benefits that shopping locally can offer.
“The past two years have seen us get some real power-houses behind us, and we’re urging other brands to follow their lead and join the revolution, encouraging people to think twice about turning to out-of-town shopping centres, and to instead support their local independents.”
A prime example of the heavyweight support Independent Retailer Month has attracted is leading paints and coatings specialists AzkoNobel, which introduced an incentive scheme for home-improvement enthusiasts around the iconic Dulux Dog.
Carly Knight, shopper marketing manager at AkzoNobel says: “The concept was simple but effective. We ran a promotion on our Dulux Painting Mixing products, which was exclusive to our independently-operated Dulux Colour and Advice stores. Available Friday to Sunday throughout July 2012, in order to help drive weekend footfall, the incentive mechanic meant that whenever a customer spent £30 on the paint-mixing service, they received a free, limited-edition, Dulux Dog cuddly toy. We supported the drive with Dulux Dog bunting and in-store posters, and heavily encouraged our customers to register on the website’s directory and to utilize the PDFs online to generate further awareness."
Having experienced a demonstrable increase in paint-mixing sales during July, teamed with excellent customer feedback, AzkoNobel has committed to support Independent Retailer Month again this July, expanding the parameters of the incentive promotion.
“This year, we have significantly expanded the reach of the promotion. Not only are we offering the opportunity to more of our independent retailers but we have broadened the offering to include all AkzoNobel products - Dulux, Polycell, Cuprinol and Hammerite – in order to really demonstrate our independent retailers product availability and choice,” adds Knight.
The 2013 promotion will see a £5 voucher awarded for every £40 spent, and will be supported with a poster campaign.
AzkoNobel’s lead has been followed this year by Frugi, an ethical and organic childrenswear brand, which is launching its Frugi Tee Party contest – a competition run through independent retailers stocking the brand to drive footfall.
Lucy Jewson, co-founder of Frugi, says: “Without independent retailers, our high streets would be far less interesting – it is these shops which make town centres individual and shopping experiences diverse. As part of Independent Retailer Month, we’ve launched a competition with the intention of boosting footfall into these stores. We’ve put up a really desirable family prize – a holiday in Cornwall worth more than £1400 – to encourage more customers to visit Frugi retailers and enjoy some of the benefits that shopping with independents can offer.“
The competition, aimed at children up to the age of 10, encourages youngsters to design their own T-shirt concept for Frugi. In addition to creating a final design from the winning entry and putting it into production, the winner and their family will enjoy a luxury holiday, including three nights at the Watergate Bay Hotel, lunch at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, and a visit to the Eden Project.
“The Frugi Tee Party is all about stores engaging with customers and the local community in a fun way, so as an added incentive we are offering £200 towards local advertising for the store which submits the most entries.
“We recognise that independents form an important part of our business, as well as being crucial to the UK economy, and that the only way to keep our town centres and high streets vibrant and unique is for both shoppers and brands to support them. We hope that with promotions like the Frugi Tee Party, our retailers can increase the number of people coming through their doors, and that these people will then continue to visit, with a long-term impact on our local high streets,” adds Lucy.
Clare concludes: “The support this Independent Retail campaign, and Independent Retailer Month in particular, gets from big brands has a massive impact on the awareness surrounding it. While I have been urging consumers to make an effort to take 20% of their shopping budget and support their local high street, there is far more reason for them to do so if they have added incentives like these to take advantage of.
“Only through continued support and awareness can the campaign continue to gather momentum and turn the perception of the British High Street around to make it great once more.”