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The Shop Small movement has gained significant momentum in recent years — so much so that a recent study shows almost six in ten Aussie shoppers would refuse to visit a big brand business if a locally-owned store offered the same item.
Small business owners have faced a tough couple of years, navigating challenges such as bushfires, drought and lockdowns, as well as cut-price competitors — especially when it comes to fast fashion. These realities have not been lost on consumers. In fact, 71% of Australians say they’re more connected to local businesses today than they were pre-pandemic. It seems one silver lining of lockdowns is a renewed sense of community, which extends to supporting local businesses.
There are a few things you can do to remind shoppers to keep it local by visiting smaller brick-and-mortar stores, like yours, and to ensure a smooth customer experience when they do visit.
Organic social media posts are free advertising for your business. Plus, with tools like hashtags and geo-tags, you can ensure your posts are surfaced to the right audience — local shoppers.
Start posting announcements of any sales you’re holding, new items in your range, popular products that you’ve needed to restock, and invite people to shop locally instead of visiting the big retailers.
It’s likely your store has street-facing exposure. If this is the case, are you making the most of it? Frequently refreshing your window displays to showcase your range is one tactic to attract shoppers’ eyes during key retail periods — like Christmas. However, don’t make the mistake of assuming everyone knows where you’re located.
Take the time to assess your store signage. Can people clearly see it from the street? Is it cutting through the noise of the bustling high street? Is it clear what you sell, or offer? Consider if there are opportunities to optimise your store’s impact and visibility with small changes like updating your signage, which won’t break the bank.
Even temporary displays to encourage and celebrate Shop Small are worth considering. American Express has a selection of decals you can order online to display in your window, and digital logos you can add to your website.
When it comes to adapting to change, small business owners are at an advantage. As a small business owner, you are closer to both your products and your customers. You have the ability to make instant changes, rather than waiting for decisions to go through the various levels of approval required in big business. Recognise this powerful advantage and make full use of it.
One of the changes you have undoubtedly come across is customers’ waning attention spans and unwillingness to wait. Customers are becoming less and less patient, and many will abandon their would-be purchases if the queue for payment is too long. Similarly, if staff are unable to accept a customer’s chosen method of payment, you risk losing the sale. Here’s where it pays to invest in an efficient, contactless mobile terminal that meets all hygiene, wait time and payment expectations.
Zeller Terminal allows you to process every card and smart device payment quickly and seamlessly, ensuring you never miss a chance to make a sale. Staff can even rove around the store, cutting down queues and ensuring payments are processed quickly so that every customer leaves your store happy and satisfied with their purchase. Plus, every in-person transaction costs just 1.4% — even payments made using American Express.
This month is prime time to bring your community together. Can you create an event with other local businesses — such as a Small Business Saturday fete, or even a late-night neighbourhood shopping crawl? Nibbles, bubbles and raffles often draw a crowd.
Partnering with other local businesses can even help you to identify cross-marketing opportunities with mutual benefit. You may, for example, approach the local plant store and ask to place a few in your ornamental pots to sell as a bundle.
You could also do this with your own products. Hand cream goes with pumice stones, candles go with candle snuffers, cocktail mix sets go with jars of dried oranges, and socks and jock sets can be matched. Make it easy for your customers to grab their Christmas presents.
Shoppers like to see businesses supporting others, too. Various studies show people are more likely to support your small business if they know you’re contributing similarly. Is there a way your business can give back?
You could consider donating a portion of your profits for the month of November to a charity, or host a fundraiser. It’s a good idea to keep your support relevant to the local community. New reading materials for the local aged care home, kibble for a dog shelter or new games for a kindergarten are all good starting points.
Shoppers using American Express to make their purchases reportedly spend 1.8X more than non-American Express card holders. Accepting this common card type at your business is an easy way to increase revenue.
Our small businesses are at the heart of what makes our local communities great. Use the tips above to encourage consumers to shop with your small business this November, and support other local businesses where you can.
Speak to Zeller Sales about everything from EFTPOS to online invoicing.