Customer Experience: Key to small business survival! 

For a few years now, some of the major global economies have been battling with ways of how to grow the small business but results have been average at best. In UK the high street has been in a state of perpetual decline. BBC outlined in an article towards the end of 2019 that average vacancy rate of commercial properties lying empty on the high street was at its highest at 10.3%.  

But all is not doom and gloom, new store openings are still taking place and local takeaways, restaurants, pubs, gyms etc are seeing the maximum growth as categories. 

Reading about the decline on the high street, whilst sitting in my local coffee hub, made me pause to wonder what had grown in my local suberb in recent years – cafes and restaurants popped through my head as the first thing. It’s great to see this shift as this aids making high street shopping for other retailers more of an experience sell.  

But how are these individual business people driving increased footfall, managing rising costs moving towards more sustainable business models. In speaking to some of them, the answer is concerning, as they are not planning actively to address any of these questions. This primarily because they are not aware of the answers to these questions. How are the bigger retailers making this work? 

The Answer:  

Technology is delivering harmonised physical and online customer experiences and rapid development of tech has lowered the cost of consumption of these services now to allow small business owners to benefit and deliver a differentiated, personalised mark in their interaction with customers. 

Take the example of the local coffee shops sprouting in London and across the country. How do they learn more about what the customers want, adapt the menu, manage the effective fulfilment of demand – maximise sales and minimise wastage of food and resources? Today technology like Acquiral provide easy ways to engage customers at your store front over SMS, Whatsapp, Facebook etc by running quick instant surveys to help better understand your customer needs. The same tech can be used to further run promotional offers to your regular clientele and feed the largest/oldest form of marketing ‘word of mouth’ to grow your business. Knowing your customer also helps you better plan your food and beverage production and managing resourcing of your store/café front. This is how simple tech can help deliver the competitive edge to local coffee shops and create a brand that delivers a personalised engagement to their customers. 

Don’t be afraid of the continuing rise of online, embrace simple technology to drive physical and virtual engagement with your customers. A closed loop of asking for feedback from your customers, marketing to them and responding with products to sell that they need is critical to growth and success.