The Advantages of Being
a Small Retailer

Whether times are tough or things are smooth sailing, the advantages of being a small, independent retailer remain the same. The responsibilities, choices and decisions to be made are all yours—and with that comes the opportunity to thrive.

Buying What You Want, When You Want 

No one but you can tell you what to sell in your store. Of course, your customers and their purchases should certainly impact your choices, but at the end of the day the decision is yours. There is no boss who has another boss who has senior management breathing down their backs at every dollar spent and every product purchase made. That alone is a huge relief. What is even more exciting about this huge advantage, though, is that you have the opportunity to bring in the latest styles faster since your inventory is smaller and your chance on something new is never as big a gamble as it would be for a mass retailer. Re-orders are easier to get in, as well, since your quantities are smaller and you can be as flexible as necessary with the manufacturer. The advantages are endless when it comes to having buying power with no limitations. Just make sure to stay within your buying budget… Going over it can cause you problems that no retailer wants to deal with, big or small!

Giving Customer Service to Brag About

When it comes to making customers happy, small retailers do it best. Whether it's offering a place to put their coat and bags while shopping or making their little ones happy with toys to play with, independent retailers shine when it comes to customer service. There are no rules to follow but your own. From greeting the customers that walk through your door to providing them with personal shopping care to calling them when you know there is something new that they just have to have, the customer service you offer has the opportunity to be the best in your neighborhood. We know they can't find this type of genuine care at mass retailers, so why not give your customers the attention and support you know they will love? Whether it's gift wrapping, home delivery services, juice boxes for the kids, or just plain old great customer service while your customers shop, make sure you stand out from your local competition when it comes to supporting your clients.

Breaking The Rules Because You Can

Return policy? What return policy? When you run and manage your own store, it's up to you when you want to break the rules. Need to get to a wedding on Saturday night but the store doesn't close until seven? Guess what? You can close it—unless, of course, you are in a regulated shopping area with controlled hours. But either way, there will always be something you can bend the rules for to make your life, your customers, and your business better. Don't underestimate the value of being the boss.Always respect your business and your priorities, but allow yourself to be flexible enough to see when bending the rules or even breaking them is okay.

Special Events, Loyalty Programs, and More

Mass retailers may have Sunday mailers in the local paper, but you can offer your customer so much more than that. Give them a reason to want to come back to your store with a reward program for each purchase made. Let them know you care by offering milk and cookies to their kiddies during story time. Don't have story time? Find something that makes sense for your store to bring customers in more often. Moms are always looking for something to do with their kids, so make your store a place to shop and hang out in a variety of special events. Offer shopping incentives, as well, to help create an exciting buzz—and money in your register. First—time customer? Give them a coupon as a thank you to help encourage them to come back again. Keeping your customers engaged in your store will ultimately keep them invested in your store and you.

Being a small retail business owner certainly has its perks and every now and then its stress too. But the advantages are endless when compared to working retail in any other environment. As store owner Kim Gayeski from Little Green Baby in Chicago, Illinois says, "It's a love-hate relationship that I always love."

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