As the sun rises in 2021, we can reflect on some of the positive changes that the previous year has brought to our lives, one of which is an appreciation of the local independent business, within our community, that has always been there, but we haven’t always supported. However, we have now realised that they are competitively priced, friendly, and informative and often more flexible than their larger competitors willing to adopt new ways to transact and communicate with existing and new customers.

Many local independent shops whether it is the butcher in your village, greengrocer or the local pub have embraced additional business channels allowing customers to order, click and collect or have home delivery. Thus, ensuring they continue to operate and are profitable during a challenging business year.

Restrictions have brought a new audience to online shopping and e-commerce, an audience that has previously not adapted to the digital age. On a practical level, this has meant that organisations have had to make sure their website content is simple and easy to use. In these changing and uncertain times, it has never been more important to understand your customers and your market.

Here at the IPG, we have been impressed with how several of our members have responded to the changing competitive landscape and have adopted the new modern selling channels, making their businesses available 24/7 which will help them in their determination to continue to grow their business in 2021 and beyond.

Our experienced IT Team has supported members throughout the last 12 months with website development and e-commerce solutions. But don’t take our word for it, here’s what Mike at one of our members, Croxley Plumbing Supplies said:

“From my initial consultation with The IPG to my weekly emails and phone calls, getting on board with e-commerce has been a big success. Sales have increased since going live, but what is also improved is my profile in the local area. The number of visitors to my website has grown significantly. Never as much as now has our relationship with The IPG felt so much like a team.”

Unlike 12 months ago some of our IPG members are now offering a click and collect service and their businesses are open 24/7 with their new effective online platforms. This has meant they have reached brand new customers online and have experienced increased footfall to their locations. After so much negative news about retail in the last month, it is reassuring that the independent merchants are adapting and expanding their service and delivery channels making sure they remain in our community for the foreseeable future.