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Is your store ready for the Poundland challenge?

Cartoon of Poundland shopNews this month that Poundland intend to open 11 stores in eleven days is bound to prove a mixed blessing for local independent retailers, but every challenge brings an opportunity and we believe that retailers can use their experience, imagination and effective retail display and point of sale to fight back.

In fact the clever retailer can use some of the techniques of Poundland in their own store. They have seen a phenomenal growth over the past decade and seen a whole host of rivals that have now come to dominate our High Street. Of course their growth has been based on price – and that has coincided with a general decline in consumer spending power – but they have also attempted to create a positive customer experience. Be honest with yourself: is the experience of your store actually better than a visit to Poundland? If you haven’t visited one recently, now is a good time.

One advantage Poundland has it that it doesn’t have to advertise its prices but this gives the independent retailer the chance to shout about their bargain prices. And shout is the right word. There are many opportunities to tell customers about prices: use A boards, window displays, shelf barkers, Point of Sale, sign and poster holders on shelves, counters, walls and ceilings.

Don’t be afraid to compare your prices with your ‘99p’ store rivals. It’s clear that these stores often sell smaller or lighter items so make sure your customers know that – gram for gram – you’re prices are actually better value: use your communications channels to deliver this message to your customers too.

Again, one advantage for Poundland is that people generally know that they have an extended product range but your own product range needs more marketing. Again, look at all opportunities to make customers aware – not only instore but thorough advertising and marketing channels like leaflets, Facebook and Twitter etc. You need to make people aware of new lines too!

Develop ways to build consumer loyalty as there are clear indications that people would like to use local independent retailers if they are offering the same value. As a retailer are you putting back into the community that is providing you with your takings? Are there links to local charities, religious bodies or schools that can be beneficial to both parties?

And this brings us to the biggest advantage that the independent retailer has over retailers like Poundland – the personal touch – work harder to know your customers, support their needs and encourage them to be evangelists for your store and not any local rivals.