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Loyalzoo – who the heck is Loyalzoo?…well you would like to know wouldn’t you?

For a start, we’re a London-based business with a global footprint. We support independent retailers and small chains and eateries and all those places which are the basis of your local community. Loyalty is our business. Keeping high streets and communities thriving and buzzing is the brilliant outcome of our digital platform.  

meet-loyalzoo

We’re definitely the most unique digital loyalty solution in the UK and our ambition is to be the number one choice for SMBs. This week we’re throwing open our doors and holding an investor meet & greet where we’ll be serving Loyalzoo cocktails and treats for our guests. Would you like to come along? You can sign up for the event here on Eventbrite.

You’ll be able to get to know the team behind the brand; Massimo Sirolla the Co-founder & CEO of Loyalzoo, who knows  his retail and loyalty business will be on hand along with Mark Ryan – Co-founder & non-executive director, Rhiannon Barnes – Growth & engagement manager, Andrew Campbell – Chief Technology Officer, and Iain Watt – Full stack developer. So if you’re interested in finding out about our typical customer, how we came to be or our plans for the future – someone will definitely be able to fill you in.

We also have major plans for the business which is why we’re raising a big £500,000 investment at the moment. A large part of this is through our third crowdfunding campaign which is now live on Seedrs and has started off with a bang. For more information, head to www.seedrs.com/loyalzoo3

If you’re an existing, new or potential investor, come along and meet the team to hear our story and our plans. We look forward to welcoming you.

A recent survey* done by AXA Business Insurance have found that more than 60% of Britain’s shoppers have lasting relationships with their local stores and that they are much less loyal when it comes to their supermarket shopping.

But what makes local shops stand out? One in four answered that they like knowing the shop owners and the staff by name. They also responded that they like being able to order ‘the ususal’ in their local shops. Not all business sectors are treated equally though – the sectors we report the highest level of loyalty to are hairdressers, newsagents and butchers. It comes as no surprise that we are loyal to our hairdressers and butchers – the products and the service they provide are largely based on trust. As a bonus, shoppers appreciate the benefits independent shops bring to an area; over 70% say they think local shops adds to the character of a place, and almost 1 in 5 say the are prettier on the high street than the chains.

Another factor in our seeming preference for local shops is the nostalgia tied to high streets as they used to be – with a varied selection of specialist shops. These days high streets have a higher level of sameness; the same shops are found on every high street across the country.

An unsurprising 88% say they are not loyal to the supermarkets; price and convenience is the driving factor when they decide where to shop. 1 in 4 say they would change if a different store opened nearer to where they live or work – indicating location is an important factor for customers when choosing where to shop.

The survey also lists the top 10 businesses we are most loyal to;
1. Hairdresser
2. Newsagent
3. Butcher
4. Baker
5. Greengrocer
6. Florist
7. Shoe shop/Cobbler
8. Clothes store
9. Fishmonger
10. Book shop.

Interestingly the list consists only of specialist shops – big supermarkets combining clothes, furniture and groceries are nowhere to be seen despite their ‘all-in-one solution’ and, often, car friendly locations. It is an interesting contrast to the picture often presented in media, where we tend to see a focus on consumers being disloyal and focused only on price, largely influenced by online shopping.

Online shopping may be convenient and easy – but British consumers still seem to put their loyalty with their local shops, appreciating familiarity and what these shops bring to the community.

*See the original survey here.

It is no secret that Loyalzoo – our loyalty app for local shops – came about as a result of our own interests. We enjoy to shop local in our neighbourhood, and want to help these shops grow and compete against the big brands. The papers are always reporting that local businesses are closing, so shopping in them is vital to keep them, and our neighbourhoods, alive.

So what’s the problem with big brands? Well – nothing, really. Many of them offer a good range of decent quality products, their opening hours are convenient and there is usually parking on the premises. Many offer wifi in store, low prices and central locations.

So far so good. But one thing they lack is excitement and interest in themselves and their products. You will never get an employee in a global chain enthusiastically talking about where their latest product came from and why they decided to stock it. Or talk about how their latest flavour came about – as a result of their best friends’ idea and their uncle’s abundant apple-tree.

Local shops have their limitations, sure. Their opening hours aren’t always as long as we would have liked them to be, the parking may be limited. But the variety of products and the stories behind them makes it a far more interesting place than any chain shop will ever be. You can tell by talking to the staff and the atmosphere inside. If it’s a cafe – is it an in-out feel, or are people sitting down with a friend or two, chatting away and enjoying themselves? If it’s a food shop or bakery, are the people in the queue mostly huffing and puffing in stress, or are they waiting patiently? Maybe we are just very lucky – but our experience in local shops is predominantly a much more relaxed matter than that in the big shops.

We still use the big brands, of course we do. Sometimes the convenience is unbeatable. But every time, whilst we queue up in another seething line full of people cursing and oozing passive aggressiveness because it is rush hour and they are all hangry and angry at the cashier not working fast enough, we think we could have – should have – gone to the  local instead. It would have been more expensive, taken longer and finding parking would have been a pain – but being in the shop would have made us relax and lower our shoulders.

Not every local shop is like this – but many are. And none of the big ones are. So we shop local when we can and we urge you to do the same.

When it comes to marketing your business there is one crucial question to ask. Who is my customer? Without knowing who you are selling to, how can you market to them? You probably already have a good idea about who your typical customer is, but it will be worth sitting down and spending a little time just defining your ideal customer/s. Who they are depends on your business.  To help you get started in defining your own, here are Read more

  1. It’s, well, LOCAL! Beats driving/sitting on a train/on a bus and paying for it right?
  2. It’s friendly. Employees are likely to actually look at you.
  3. And probably even smile
  4. And start a chat!
  5. You’ll get to see the business owner. Probably. And in most cases, they are lovely, driven people who really care about you. Hello…..mrs/mr owner of multi-million-international-store…?
  6. The products won’t be the same as everywhere else. Chances are, they’re local too – and carefully selected by the owner.
  7. Employees will know what they’re selling.
  8. Because employees in a local business tend to be a lot more than just another number in the payroll system.
  9. By shopping local, you support your local economy and contribute to the buzz and life in your community
  10. Shopping local means you help create more opportunities for young people
  11. And most of what you spend, goes to the business itself. Not the obscure conglomerate of owners or stakeholders.
  12. You won’t have to elbow your way through tourists who all like to be in one place where the only shops are super chains that can be found nearly everywhere on the planet (hello, Oxford Street).
  13. You can take your time, and ask advice. And if you have some feedback, chances are the owner will actually take the time to listen to you.

 

Tell us about your favourite local shops in the comments!