Clare Rayner, The Retail Champion, UK Lead for Independent Retailer Month, has launched a new campaign 'Celebrate an Independent Christmas'. Retailers are encouraged to work collaboratively in their community and with the support of 'Local Activation Partners' to create 'Christmas Shopping Crawls'.\
The 'Celebrate an Independent Christmas' campaign is a spin-off from the well-established Independent Retailer Month. It focuses on engaging local independent businesses, those who serve consumers, to create 'activation events', which will be fun AND which will have a positive social and economic impact in their locale. The campaign is a nationwide effort to improve footfall to our high streets, towns and village centres, to increase consumer confidence, and to boost retail sales. Local activation partners will help retailers and consumer facing businesses to deliver 'Christmas Shopping Crawls'. The campaign will be supported by a wide range of business organisations and aims to reach consumers with the support of local press, media, councils and the retailers themselves.
Clare Rayner, The Retail Champion, Founder of this new campaign said: "The Independent Christmas campaign will run for the 6 weeks prior to Christmas day, from 12th November 2012. Consumers will be encouraged to spend a proportion of their Christmas budgets - be that on gift and food shopping, partying or pampering - with local, independent businesses. The campaign will be inclusive of all those who serve consumers so bars, restaurants and salons as well as traditional shops."
The message to consumers from the campaign will be that buying from an Independent typically guarantees them a more unique, personal experience. It will highlight that if consumers are looking for a bit of indulgence at this celebratory time of year, if they are seeking more unusual gifts, unique outfits, delicious treats or special social occasions, they should explore their local independents. To capture consumers' imaginations, to encourage them to make the effort to seek out their local independents, the campaign will be calling on retailers and business organisations to work together to create 'Christmas Shopping Crawls'. Intended to be a lot of fun, and with an opportunity for shoppers to win a prize for completing a crawl, shopping crawls can also address the very real and serious issue of lack of footfall to our high streets. Only this week the Local Data Company reported the highest ever level of shop vacancy rates in the UK; the CBI reported that consumer confidence has remained consistently low for several periods. With this backdrop of economic gloom, a campaign such as this can have a very real, positive social and economic impact. By creating a sense of fun, excitement, some competition, and a community spirit, retailers who participate in a Christmas Shopping Crawl have the opportunity to engage new customers from their local area.
Rayner added: "Christmas is the perfect opportunity to give independent businesses a real boost in sales; already many achieve over 30% of their annual sales in the 6 weeks before Christmas. Increasing sales during what is already a peak period could make a significant difference to their bottom line. They have the opportunity to introduce new customers to their product ranges, to give them a sample of their services, or just to increase consumer awareness of their existence. The first step in re-engaging disenchanted consumers with the high street is to give them a good reason to visit; the next step is for the businesses trading there to showcase what they've been missing out on! Christmas Shopping Crawls, if well implemented, can deliver exactly that."
To find out more about the Independent Christmas Campaign visit www.independentretailermonth.co.uk/christmas-shopping or follow on social media - twitter via @IndieRetailUK or www.facebook.com/IndependentRetailerMonthUK