Some 47 per cent of Brits agree and 14 per cent strongly agree that they are happy to spend more money on something from an independent shop rather than a large chain or franchise, according to a study by Yell Business.
However, half of Britain’s consumers (50 per cent) also feel that their local area is lacking in independent businesses.
Such a demand for smaller businesses and more personal customer experiences can explain the emergence of Small Business Saturday as an occasion to prioritise smaller operators for our custom.
Robert Gordon, CEO of Hitachi Capital says, ‘In these uncertain times, we must do everything we can to support smaller retailers. Our recent research with the CEBR revealed that 23 per cent of small businesses have postponed investment following the Brexit vote.
‘In order to encourage the development of these businesses and secure their future it is crucial that we, as a nation, get out and rally behind them to ensure their growth and encourage entrepreneurship in all its forms.’
A rare marketing opportunity
Elaine Burns, co-founder of clothing retailer Wear Eponymous says Small Business Saturday is a very important initiative for her company. ‘The press gets behind interesting small businesses to promote them for what could be, arguably, the only time in the year.
‘Throughout the year it’s the major players that scoop the press so now it’s the small business’s time to shine.’
Burns feels that every shopping centre has become ‘identikit’, with consumers seeing the same shops with the same product lines over and over again.
‘Small Business Saturday breathes fresh life into the shopping experience and encourages people to walk a different path.
’It’s common for friends or families shopping together to interact over designs and products they see in an independent shop that they haven’t seen before, sparking conversations that just wouldn’t happen in major retailers where products can often be similar versions of what’s available next door.’
There are a growing number of people and organisations looking to small business for their needs right across the board, according to Steven Timberlake, director of SalesRadar.
‘People crave being treated as individuals and want to build lasting relationships; they know they are more likely to get that with a small business rather than a large corporate.
‘People want to deal with a business who will take on their problems and offer a solution. In essence, this really is why small businesses makes such a difference to so many, and why they’ll always be entrepreneurs looking at what big business is doing and believing they can do it better with that extra personal touch.’