by the experts at EmojitNow
We’re passionate about helping local high streets keep healthy and to keep providing what local shoppers want – as local high streets are critical to maintaining our local communities.
As our recent blog post ‘Use it or lose it’ stressed, we can all do our bit – if we shop local, our local businesses will flourish. The reverse is also true: if we don’t shop locally, we’ll lose one of the key parts of our local communities… our local businesses will just start to shut up shop.
Whilst we have to recognise that shopping habits are changing, and the convenience of online shopping means people are ordering more online, this DOESN’T mean that local high streets are dead.
Not all, it’s just that they need to find ways to make sure they know what their shoppers really want and need.
So, if you are a local business on a local high street, are a high street action group, or even just a local resident worried about your high street, here’s a few thoughts on how you can help your local area.
As a local or small business, do you have an Insta account?
If not, you should definitely set one up as you can keep locals updated on what’s going on at your business or shop, and what offers you have.
Just take a look at a few of our favourite Insta accounts to get an idea of what you can do:
#chelseacreperie – it’s a small coffee and creperie place in Chelsea – and with some great shots of its colourful decor and its amazing colours on its coffees (yes, its coffees) it has got over 12,000 followers. What a great way to market itself and to drum up more customers.
#quirkygadgetsfulham – it’s an amazing gift, gadget, and toy shop on the Fulham Road where it highlights all the great things it has… and has over 2,000 passionate followers.
#glasshouse.coffee – is a fab coffee shop on the Fulham Palace Road. It’s got over 1,400 followers who get updated on new menu additions, what they are offering, and shows the atmosphere that they’ve created – which is great for people meeting up throughout the week, or for those seeking a place to work from.
Post regularly – make sure you update and post regularly. Also follow, support, like, and comment on other local businesses’ posts so that you can grow and support each other. As your follower number grows, you’ll be able to keep reminding your local customers of what you have to offer, so that they remember to shop local…
Do you have an active local area group already?
If you have one already – that’s a great start.
If not, have you thought about setting one up – either on Facebook or Instagram? It certainly looks like Instagram is the best platform to use right now as the pictures and stories really help bring local areas to life, and the activities that going on in your area.
Right now we’re already working closely with The Fulham Residence Club and UrbanVillageLondon (Insta: TheFulhamResidenceClub and urbanvillage_ldn) that both promote local businesses, shops, cafes, restaurants and other businesses (like PTs, physios, and dental practitioners etc) on a daily basis on their feeds.
They have a combined following of over 2,000 locals – covering both local businesses and residents. They also have regular get togethers of these local businesses and local residents which are great for informal networking and support. They do a great job at letting people know what’s available locally, and what specific offers are being made.
Just take a look at their insta feeds for inspiration as they’re doing an amazing job of pulling the local community together.
On a wider basis – there’s plenty of other national action groups that you can join and be a part of including: www.thesme.club, www.savethehighstreet.org, www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com, www.savethehighstreetltd.co.uk, www.independentsdayuk.org – it’s definitely worth giving them a look too.
Are you getting direct, realtime, actionable and ongoing feedback?
All local shops, cafes, restaurants and businesses will have an idea of how you are doing from your daily, weekly and monthly sales figures.
But… are you getting the ongoing and instant feedback so that you can see what your customers really think of your inventory or service before you see it in your sales numbers?
Do you know what you can do more of, or less of – other than from just your sales figures or from in person interactions with your customers?
How much feedback are you actually getting?
Our guess, is that you may be getting some likes on Facebook, or Insta, and probably very sporadic reviews on the likes of TripAdvisor, TrustPilot, or maybe Design My Night. Of course these are all useful – but from what we see many local businesses don’t get a lot of reviews that actually show them what they are really doing well, or what they could improve on. They’re often great at giving examples that may need to be looked into.. but won’t give more detailed data points to see actual trends.
Larger outfits may also have some emoji terminals in their stores. These are great, and there are definitely case studies that show how these terminals can really help improve performance of retailers – just see herefrom Happy or Not terminals – but they do take up space in your shop, and are probably not a solution for single unit local businesses, or those even with a few venues or outlets.
How can EmojitNow help local businesses?
We want to help local high streets flourish and want to be part of the solution.
We want local businesses to get the immediate and direct feedback from customers that can help them improve.
Our app is free on the App Store – so your customers just need to download it – and then they can start giving the feedback on the all and any of local shops they visit. It’s also anonymous, so users don’t have to worry about declaring who they are.
All they need to do is find the shop, select and emoji and a reason, and then press submit. It’s as quick an easy as that.
You can see this feedback as well in the app – so you can get a clear idea of what your customers think of you… so you can keep doing what people love, or make any changes where needed.
The key though, is getting volume so that you get the insight you need. So, if you promote the app – either as a business or a local community group – you’ll start to get more information that you can act on.
To get feedback from your customers, you can promote the app in a range of ways:
Stickers on shop windows or at the tills, or even on till receipts – all of which can have a QR code that lets the customer download the app directly
On your social media pages or posts, showing that you value your customer’s feedback
Your shop assistants can ask customer to give their feedback about their experience with you
This can all be done at an individual store level – but it’s even more effective if its promoted by your local retailers group, or by as many local shops or businesses as possible – as once your customer has the app on their phone, they can feedback on all the local businesses, so you can all benefit.
What insight do you get from the app?
The unique thing about the app, is that as the owner or manager of business you get the anonymous feedback, in realtime.
You can look up your business, and see what people have feedback on at a headline level. We’re making it even easier so that you will also be able to set notifications, so that the app will alert you when you have had some feedback.
The headline data is free – all you need to do is find your unit to see what people have fed back on.
If you want to see more detailed data, then you can see it in the app – and this costs only 99p per month. Yes, ONLY 99p a month – and this will show extra information including: the days of the week, the times or day and the age range of the people who have given their feedback.
All of this will help you make better decisions on what you can keep doing to serve YOUR customers in the best way that YOU can.
It may be that you can act on it right there and then, or, if you start getting a similar feedback from other customers, then there may be things you want to change or alter. This could as simple as thinking about how you train your staff, the staff rotas, your collection or your prices…but the key thing is that as you have the feedback, you can make your conscious decision on what you do.
If you want more information, we can also easily provide this to you directly.
On a wider scale – we can help in other ways, if you are part of a wider local campaign, we can collate the data across all the local area, to show what people have fed back on across the area… so that as a group you can see if any of the issues can be addressed.
As a customer are you giving your feedback to your local businesses so that they can improve?
As you can probably guess from the above… the more you give your feedback to your local shops and businesses, the better they will be able to service your needs…
So, perhaps ask the question – are you doing what you can to tell them what you think? If you think you can do more – try our app, and let them know what you think. Its on the App Store, its free and anonymous, and lets you give feedback on all of your local stores.