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SMEs Can Dominate The High Street

With the right data insights, small businesses can compete on a level playing field with bigger rivals.

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With the right data insights, small businesses can compete on a level playing field with bigger rivals.

Opinions

SMEs Can Dominate The High Street

With the right data insights, small businesses can compete on a level playing field with bigger rivals.

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For small businesses, competing with the big high street names for customers can seem like a huge challenge. Many small businesses despair at how difficult it can be to even turn an online ‘browser’ into a buyer, never mind converting them into a regular customer.

Of course, it may seem like big retail brands with even bigger budgets simply have more clout when it comes to securing a loyal customer base, but this is not necessarily true. Indeed, being a small business has its own advantages when trying to make strides with innovative customer loyalty programs.

In a recent survey, First Data found that 42% of small businesses admit to using their gut feeling with customers to inform strategies to increase customer loyalty.

While this may sound like an intuitive, and cost-effective approach, in reality it can this can be a somewhat risky strategy. Using data to understand what your customers’ need is a fool proof, insight-driven way to get to grips with your customer base.

Know your customers inside-out

Retail is a fast paced industry, and the average consumer is now faced with almost too much choice. Given the extraordinary variety of products and services that customers are exposed to, it is crucial that businesses understand just what makes their customers tick.

For example; we found that 69% of consumers wouldn’t bring their business to a place where they had experienced poor customer service.

Indeed, The Customer Index Survey 2016  showed that 79% of customers would go so far as to take their custom to a competitor within a week of experiencing bad customer service. It’s clear that prioritising customer service is key to instil loyalty and reduce unwelcome attrition.

In today’s world, customer service is no longer confined to the shop floor. New technologies have been introduced that now allow businesses to really get to know their customers, providing data and valuable insight into your customer’s preferences and behaviour.

If you can have these solid facts about your customers’ preferences in a matter of minutes, why waste time trying to guess?

Data is under the bonnet of the business

Small businesses have not been left behind in the technological revolution - paper logs of daily business transactions should now be ancient history.

Instead, SMEs can use technology that stores information such as a customer’s purchases online, their payment transaction data as well as their previous purchases. This data can be the key to personalising the shopping experience your customers have with your business.

Provide a unique experience by applying promotions to calendar events – go for the unexpected rather than Christmas and Easter like other stores. Did you know there is a national fish and chip day on June 3rd?

An event like this could provide a fun reason for a chip shop or café to apply promotions on their food. Small businesses are also in the advantageous position of being able to apply promotions quickly in response to certain events.

For example, on a snow day a small shop could have an offer on for soup, or a boutique could have promotions for scarves and gloves.

Create your own version of a loyalty scheme

Smart use of customer data is an effective strategy to compete with the big brands. Smaller businesses will be able to offer a variety of discounts and offers to create a more loyal customer base.

After all, the big retailers are all trying to shift the same stock. Being a smaller, more nimble business gives you the advantage of being far more creative with the promotions and discounts you can offer!

Analyse your customers buying habits. Do you have a customer who prefers a particular brand of tea or coffee? You could provide them with “BOGOF offers” or introduce a deal that gives them their third purchase for free.

This is a great way to show your customer you know them best, and that you can offer great deals with good timing. It’s certainly more personalised than the random offers you find in big stores.

Gaining customer insight is incredibly beneficial to businesses, and nothing offers customer insight quite like data on their buying habits. Businesses can get to know customers likes and dislikes better than they do themselves!

Understanding your customers can help build loyalty and in turn drive sales. Data should be the backbone to any business, if you aren’t mining your business for insights now, you should be.

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SMEs Can Dominate The High Street

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