July is Independent Retailer month, a promotional campaign to show consumers the value in doing business with independent retailers. The month-long shopping movement marks July as a time for communities to celebrate the diversity of local independent retail while stimulating the economy. Throughout a range of in-store, online and community events, Independent Retailer Month connects consumers to the independent retailer sector, highlighting its positive social and economic impact.
Independent Retailer Month offers the following ideas for independent retailers to promote the event:
- Download banners for your store to place in the window and/or at check out?.
- Give a bonus buck. Give customers a $1 coupon, redeemable in August, for every $10 they spend in your store in July?.
- Offer refreshments/happy hour. Cookies or cake that are the colors of your nation could promote the “independent” touch. You could contact an independent restaurant to provide the food?.
- Create campaign buttons for your staff to wear with the message: “Proud to be independent.”
- Invite another independent retailer that targets the same customer, to build a display in your store?.
- Meet and greet with brand owners/representatives?.
- Team up with a salon/spa and offer customers in-store pampering.?
- Offer goodie bags and/or limited edition products with certain purchases or to new customers?.
- Support local talent (designers, artists, etc.) by hosting a joint in-store activity?.
- Run a contest offering the chance for one winner and friends to have a private shopping party?.
- Team up with neighboring independent retailers to host a shopping crawl?.
- Make sure to tag @indieretailusa in your tweets so the campaign can promote your business, events and activities and use the hashtag #indieretail to join the conversation. Share photos on the Independent Retailer Month Facebook page.
- Add #indieretail to your tweets to be apart of the conversation.
- Have a contest for the most creative photo in which the customer is shown with your shopping bag.
- Offer exclusive coupons on your website that are redeemable in store only.
- “My favorite outfit” contest with customers submitting photos of how they wear clothing bought at your store and the winner is chosen by customers and receives a gift/coupon/discount.
- Create your store as an Independent Retailer Month Check-in spot on FourSquare. Every shopper who “checks in” your store gets a free item along with purchase or a discount – OR the __th person to “check in” gets _percent off throughout the store.
- Use social media as a fun tool to ‘hot spot’ select products on select days during July.
- Have an online check-in passport system: whichever customer visits your store and checks in the most on Facebook during July wins a voucher to spend in your store in August.
- “I love this indie retailer because…” video blog contest: get guests to visit your store during July and take a short video of their experience talking about customer service, purchases and why they visited you. Upload it to YouTube. The most hits at the end of July wins.
In your community
- Give an award for the customer that has done the most to volunteer in your community during the past year.
- Take on a community project such as replanting the planters in the area where your store is located.
- Volunteer to speak at the meeting of local civic clubs as a representative of Independent Retailer Month.
- Volunteer to represent the local retail community by being interviewed by local media to promote Independent Retailer month?.
- Offer to make a donation of 10 percent of the purchase price for each customer that names a local charity.
- Make a promotion page that lists all the independent retailers in your area. Hand this page to customers as they visit your store.
- Place banners throughout your local community that show your community is supporting Independent Retailer Month.
- Make the local information office an indie hub during July where consumers can learn which stores are offering exclusive events.
Independent Retailer Month started in the USA, and was born from the collaboration of two individuals who share a common desire to salute independent retailers around the globe. In 2003, Tom Shay, principal of Profits Plus, created National Independent Retailer Week to show retailers how they could create celebrations for their communities, industries and own businesses. In 2009, Kerry Bannigan, founder and CEO of Nolcha, devised Independent Retail Week, a citywide shopping extravaganza in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and New Jersey advancing the business of independent fashion retailers.
In 2011, discussions began between Bannigan and Shay as they wanted to be inclusive of everyone in independent retailing. In July 2011, Independent Retailer Month USA was born. The campaign then expanded to the UK, led by Clare Rayner, The Retail Champion, and to Canada, led by Barbara Crowhurst from Retail Makeover.