At a time when the High Street is struggling, small businesses are looking for routes to market and the opportunity to meet customers face to face. This is why I believe small businesses have a vital role to play in bringing High Streets back to life, and customers onto the streets.

 

 

 

 

For the small business owner, opportunities are opening up to enter the retail race. They are:

  • PopUp – why take on a long lease and financial commitment of a shop when you can PopUp! Small businesses are turning to PopUp Britain and platforms such as We Are PopUp to get a taste of trading in a retail environment. Through PopUp Britain, we are opening empty shops and filling them with small businesses who trade for a fortnight and pay £150 to do so. In this time, tenants make sales, meet customers, test markets and increase online traffic and orders too. We crowdfund the rent and tenants crowdresource the shop. The results have been impressive with 91% of tenants saying they had a positive PopUp experience, 76% committed to going back onto the High Street and 12% looking for a permanent shop, having proved physical retail is a solution for them. PopUps enable small businesses to be online and offline retailers, at low cost and with low risk. Don’t start with a shop – go with a PopUp!
  • PitchUp – benefit from the increasing number of large retailers wanting to stock your goods on their shelves. Through its PitchUp programme, StartUp Britain matches small businesses with head buyers from John Lewis. For companies with digital products, an announcement later this month will open up a potential sales channel to one of the world’s most successful games developers. Pitching to large retailers suits products of all types as seen in Pets at Home Innovation Days through to the HP SMEngage programme, introducing small businesses to large government contracts. Expect to see more big businesses court small ones so be sure to perfect your pitch for when the opportunity comes to your sector or trade!
  • Payment – select a payment tool that enables you to accept any form of payment via your phone. Intuit Pay was one of the first to market in the UK and I’ve seen at first hand how easy it is to use and the effect of not having to ask a customer to walk to the closest ATM as you only accept cash! IntuitPay is being used in PopUp Britain shops and is proven to increase turnover. Other payment options include iZettle, mPowa, PayPal’s recently announced PayPal Here (soon to be available in the UK) and O2’s partnership with Visa – they are all designed to ensure you increase sales, whether trading from a shop, farmers market, trade show, or on the move.

There have never been so many opportunities for small businesses to get onto the High Street, stocked on shelves, and be part of the retail scene. Will this be an opportunity you embrace?

Emma will be offering retail tips and trends at the Future of Retail event on Monday 25thMarch at British Library. Click here to register.

Emma Jones is founder of small business community, Enterprise Nation and a co-founder of StartUp Britain