Small Business Saturday Blog

Taking Your Business Beyond the High Street

Friday, November 10 at 10:00


It’s the dream that has driven many an entrepreneur to start their small business; owning your own shop front. A place on the high street is a fantastic achievement, and something that any small business should take pride in – who doesn’t want a space to stamp their brand identity on? As powerful as a personal slot in the parade of high street shops may be, shopping habits have moved on from simply popping down the shops, now, people don’t even have to pop out of bed to make a purchase, a few taps on a smartphone or tablet, and voila.

For small businesses seeking success, it’s time to embrace the sales opportunities beyond the perfectly dressed window – an event five minutes from your shop door might be drawing customers away, so why not get in on the action too? Get online and get out there, here are our top tips for helping grow your brand’s presence and its customer following:

Enrol for Events

The event is a powerful thing, while your shop may boast a great shop front, amazing products and even a tempting sales event, a single shop can’t match the buzz and draw of an organised event like a market or fair. These events are committed to promotion of the businesses they showcase, but they also promise their visitors a fantastic experience overall. And experience is something people are willing to pay for. In fact, Eventbrite found that consumers aged between 18 – 34 collectively spent over £419 million a month on experiences over things and are readier than ever to discover the latest happenings, like Small Business Saturday.

Research events in your area, many town centres will boast their own markets on the weekend and for major cities local listings can help you keep up to date with all the events that occur week to week. Food traders should get in on the boom in food markets, joining the dozens of traders that showcase at almost any given event and feeding the hungry bellies they find there. Seasonal markets, especially in the run up to Christmas, really amp up the atmosphere, giving local businesses across food, drink, music and gifts the perfect platform for the most important shopping month of the year, stalls quickly get booked up, so prepare well in advance for this major date in your trading calendar.

Events like these also come with a sense of exclusivity, running for a limited time only, which has a positive effect when it comes to sales – almost half of all consumers say they have visited a pop-up in the last 12 months enticed in by their here-for-now nature. Every appearance is a chance to gather new customers, so even if your first off-site pop-up is a at the local school fair, you’re sure to make sales, hopefully gain a few return customers and, of course, gain valuable learning experience for your next outing. So, arm yourself with a portable payments system, a selection of your most eye-catching wares and instead of waiting for customers to come to you, go straight to them!

Get Online

Providing your brand with an online presence is vital in modern times, even if your business isn’t suited to an online store, you can still enjoy the benefits of being omnichannel by having social media channels that let you connect with and build your customer base.  An Instagram photo of your latest rainbow cake creation, for example, can quickly become reason for anyone who likes the snap online to pay your physical location a visit, just look at the rise of the Freakshake!

If your business is a business that sells goods rather than services, then an online store is a must-have, as is making it optimised for mobile visits. A recent survey found that most small businesses are set to miss out on the £27 billion Brits will spend on mobile shopping this year. A lack of mobile-compatible websites, only 18% of small businesses currently accommodate mobile visits to their sites, is the main obstacle between small businesses and their online sales enjoying a boost.

Making an online store is far simpler than you think, with many apps letting you get set up for both desktop and mobile visitors in a few clicks. Once you’re up and running, you’ll have something to point your online followers at. A Facebook post that they like can lead to the product page, can lead to a purchase. Another useful addition to your site is a blog. This is where you can offer great content to your customers like how-tos, previews of new products and behind-the-scenes glances of your business which can add a real sense of personality to your brand. These blog pages also help improve your site’s metrics i.e. can help people find your site in the first place, and more discovery means more potential sales!

Whether you're expanding online or into local events, having a system in place to track all of your sales together will mean you can spend more time selling and less time on admin. Find out more about Square here: squareup.com/gb 


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