Last week, we talked about how big box retailers are getting smaller. Why is the big box retail sector making this expensive and difficult change to smaller stores? Because consumers have already started changing.
Humorist David Sedaris summed up this consumer feeling in an interview.
“I’d rather go to an actual shop — preferably a small one — than to a harshly lit superstore, or, worse still, a website,” Sedaris said. “I don’t want to buy my books and my toilet paper and my clothing all under the same roof. I want beauty in my life. I want charm. I want contact with actual people. It is, for me, a large part of what makes life worth living.”
A number of things point to the fact that consumers are changing their spending to favor small retailers over large retailers.
Consumer spending at small retailers is growing faster than spending at big retailers, according to the MasterCard SpendingPulse™ for Small Business. They consistently reported this trend in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Last year, the Deluxe Corp’s Annual Holiday Shopping Survey showed steady gains for small businesses over big box stores as a favorite place to shop. Not that small retailers are more popular overall, but that they are making steady gains.
It is exactly this shift that is driving the change in big boxes. For example, BBC News reported that changing consumer behavior is driving huge UK retailer Tesco to build smaller shops in city centres.
Consumers are tiring of the sheer amount of merchandise at big box stores, James Dion, president of Dionco Inc., a retail consulting firm based in Chicago said.
“We know that when customers are confronted with too much choice, they don’t make a choice,” he said.
This changing preference for smaller stores is good news for small towns and small stores. Individual retailers can promote their small size as a benefit, instead of thinking of it as a disadvantage. And this makes a natural benefit to mention in shop local campaigns.
If you’re working on a shop local campaign to support your local small retail stores, you might benefit from the$9 guide to shop local campaigns in small towns.
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