July is much more than the month we celebrate our nation’s independence — it’s also the month when small retailers around the country celebrate their independence through Independent Retailer Month.
This shop-local campaign got its start in 2011. That’s when Tom Shay of Profits Plus and Kerry Bannigan of Nolcha Shows, who had separately launched promotions to advance the success of independent retailers, came together to create a global campaign they dubbed Independent Retailer Month.
The goal of Independent Retailer Month is to highlight the critical role small, local merchants play in the community and the national economy. The month-long celebration encourages consumers to shop local and celebrate indie retailers, with the goal of creating more sustainable cities, towns and communities.
According to the organization’s website, if every family in the U.S. spent an extra $10 a month at a locally owned, independent business instead of a national chain, more than $9.3 billion would be directly returned to local economies.
How can your Community Get Involved with Independent Retailer Month?
There’s still time to promote Independent Retailer Month in your community. Start by talking to other retailers in your area to see if they have plans for the event. Then, talk to community leaders and business organizations to coordinate your efforts.
Here are some ways that your local community leaders, such as local politicians or the Chamber of Commerce, can help:
- Make announcements about Independent Retailer Month
- Promote Independent Retailer Month to local media outlets. The organization has some statistics about the benefits of independent retail businesses that can be used to generate interest.
- Honor one local retailer as the Independent Retailer of the Year
- Create a promotional page on their websites listing local independent retailers
- Put up banners or street flags in local retail districts celebrating Independent Retailer Month
How can your Business Benefit from Independent Retailer Month?
Even if your community doesn’t have the time or resources to wholeheartedly promote Independent Retailer Month, your retail store can still benefit from it. Here are a few ideas:
- Visit the Independent Retailer Month website to download resources you can use to market your business and promote Independent Retailer month. They have downloadable postcards, posters, and graphics you can use in social media, on your website and in print.
- Take advantage of Independence Day as a kickoff for your Independent Retailer Month activities. Get involved in Fourth of July events by sponsoring or giving out free products or coupons.
- Promote Independent Retailer Month on your social media accounts and your website. Be sure to use the hashtag #indieretail to help spread the word.
- Partner with other local independent retailers to host events, sales, or contests for the month of July. Offer discounts at each other’s stores to customers who show a receipt from a participating store.
The independent Retailer Month website offers several other ways to market your business throughout the month of July.
How to Get the Most from Independent Retailer Month
During July, present your retail store at its very best. Your employees should be helpful and friendly; your products should be well stocked and attractively displayed. Whenever possible, try to be in the store yourself so you can present the face of a local small business owner. Shoppers love to support independent, community businesses where they know the owners.
Whether shoppers actually make a purchase or simply browse, always encourage them to sign up receive emails from your store. You can use some type of incentive, such as a discount code good for the month of August, to entice them.
Once you’ve got that crucial customer information, stay in touch! Reach out to customers with email offers and newsletters to keep them interested and get them back in the store.
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