SMALL BUSINESS IS

BIG BUSINESS!

Almost three quarters of people feel that local shops give their area more character 1. But there’s much more to your local retail scene than meets the eye. We’ve discovered which retailers get the lion’s share of loyalty and who has the most intimate knowledge of their customers – and we uncover the top reasons why people love local.

1AXA Business Insurance survey of 2000 UK adults conducted by OnePoll (July/August 2015)

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Baker

Brian the baker

Our survey said…

21% of shoppers say their local baker is the shop they show most loyalty to. And locals definitely recognise the importance of bakeries, with 37% saying they think bakers bring most value to the economy. 1

How’s business, Brian?

Bakery businesses are booming right now, with recent reports indicating a 31% rise in the number of independent bakeries in the UK 2.

And despite the economic ups and downs of the past few years, baked goods remain in demand – the average household buys 80 loaves of bread every year, 3 which gives rise to a bread market worth £3.4 billion annually. Now that’s a lot of dough!

Top tips…

Go online. As online businesses boom, many bakeries are grabbing a slice of the online pie. It may be worth considering a virtual shop front in addition to your high street (or home) one.

Assess the local market. As tastes change and artisan bakeries proliferate, it’s worth seeing if you can tap into the market for cupcakes, made-to-order birthday cakes and other baked treats.

1AXA Business Insurance survey of 2000 UK adults conducted by OnePoll (July/August 2015)

2Simply Business analysis of data from 41,538 independent outlets (2014)

3Federation of bakers, 2015 market snapshot

Florist

Florence the florist

Our survey said…

Florists command a good amount of loyalty, with over 14% of customers staying true to their local business. And a high percentage of both men and women believe florists to be valuable to the economy – 21% and 18% respectively 1.

How’s business, Florence?

The market for flowers (and indoor plants) is worth over £2 billion in the UK in terms of retail spending, with people in the UK spending nine times as much on flowers as they do on indoor plants 2. Flowers really are big business, and demand remains high. Pardon the pun, but business is blooming!

Top tips…

Look at growing your business in new ways – for instance there could be the possibility of partnering with a local events planner or photography studio. And you can always look at new ways to expand your product range by offering delivery of cakes, chocolates and gifts along with flowers.

1AXA Business Insurance survey of 2000 UK adults conducted by OnePoll (July/August 2015)

2Flowers and Plants Association – UK market figures

Hairdresser

Marco the hairdresser

Our survey said…

Are we close to our hairdressers? A whopping 45% of people said that their hairdresser is the local business that knows the most about them. 39% of people said their hairdresser knew about their holiday plans, while 5% of people even tell their hairdresser when they’re trying for a baby! 1

How’s business, Marco?

As the population grows, so does the number of people booking in for a haircut or to get their hair straightened, permed or coloured – the list goes on. It’s an industry in very good health, and one where workers won’t be replaced by technology any time soon. The hairdressing industry is a big contributor to the economy, to the tune of £5 billion 2.

Top tips…

Sadly there’s no way (yet) to cut and style your customers’ hair over the internet – but you could use Facebook for appointment bookings to help attract more business.

A social media presence will also enable you to reach out to the local community to shout about special offers and keep in touch with customers. Think too about diversifying services – opening a nail bar or offering eyebrow treatments in the salon could be a winner for customers with busy lives.

1AXA Business Insurance survey of 2000 UK adults conducted by OnePoll (July/August 2015)

2Office for National Statistics UK Quarterly national Accounts (2014)

Bookshop

Lucy the bookshop owner

Our survey said…

The number of independent booksellers in the UK may have declined, but the lure of owning a bookshop remains strong: 12% of the people we asked said it’s the type of shop they’d most like to own - higher than those who fancy owning a café or florists 1.

How’s business, Lucy?

Internet bookselling (including electronic books readable on phones, tablets and e–readers) has affected the number of independent bookshops, which is now reportedly lower than 1,000 – a drop of 50% over the course of a decade 2. Despite their decreasing presence, bookshops are still very much loved – and for many, sadly missed – 24% of customers say that their local high street no longer has one 2.

Top tips…

With the ongoing and dramatic change that the world of book retailing continues to see, selling books (and making a living from it) is a challenge. But there are some interesting ways booksellers have helped their business, like offering freshly brewed coffee and free wi-fi to encourage people to stay around a while.

You could also try to become a sought–after specialist selling to a niche market – the UK has specialist bookshops catering for interests like costumes and fashion, magic and witchcraft, and much more.

1Booksellers Association figures (2014)

2AXA Business Insurance survey of 2000 UK adults conducted by OnePoll (July/August 2015)

Butcher

Helen the butcher

Our survey said…

Butcher shops score high on loyalty, and butchers know us best too – with 10% of men and 5% of women choosing the butcher as the one who knows them personally. But for all our love of the butcher shop’s personal service and high quality products, it seems this is a shop only a less than 2% would like to own 1.

How’s business, Helen?

The much discussed ‘foodie revolution’ has sparked interest in high–quality local retail outlets and the produce they sell. According to the most recent figures, the number of independent butcher shops is on the rise 2. And with more pop–up restaurants than ever before, it’s easy to see where all this extra custom is coming from.

Top tips…

The ‘foodie revolution’ has encouraged more people to take an interest in the very best locally sourced produce. So why not explore the possibility of becoming a craft butcher, selling products that represent the character and identity of your location – sourcing meat ethically and from local farms wherever possible?

1AXA Business Insurance survey of 2000 UK adults conducted by OnePoll (July/August 2015)

2 Simply Business analysis of data from 41,538 independent outlets (2014)

Greengrocer

Gwen the greengrocer

Our survey said…

A fifth of customers say their greengrocer inspires the most loyalty, which means there’s plenty of repeat business – and happy customers too. But despite this popularity, only 3% of people said they’d like to own a greengrocer’s 1.

How’s business, Gwen?

Despite the popularity of supermarkets for food shopping, the number of specialist greengrocer shops has remained fairly constant during the current decade 2. Interest in seasonal and organic food has remained strong 3 – allowing greengrocers to inspire local foodies and supply local restaurant kitchens with all the fruit and veg they need.

Top tips…

There may be fewer high street greengrocers than previous generations (indeed, 21% of our survey’s respondents said they missed seeing a greengrocer shop in their local area) but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a fruitful business. Why not tap into the growth of organic, fruit and veg or snack boxes, which provide health, sustainability and all-in-one convenience? How shops do business changes over time – but the hunger for great produce never subsides!

1AXA Business Insurance survey of 2000 UK adults conducted by OnePoll (July/August 2015)

2Statistica.com – Fruit and vegetables retailers, number of stores in the UK

2 Ibisworld – Fruit & Vegetable Retailers in the UK: Market Research Report

3 Soil Association – 2015 Organic Market Report

Protect your high street!

By choosing local business, you’re in good company. 61% of the nation’s shoppers have long–running relationships with their local shops. By keeping up that support, you can help keep your florist blossoming, your baker bringing in the dough, and your hairdresser cutting hair – not costs.

And if you’re a retailer, it’s vital you make sure you have the right protection in place, so that if the worst happens, you can stay open for business.