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The number of pubs is decreasing at worrying rate in the UK – we wrote an article about it last summer (read it here) – and pub owners around these fair isles are doing their best to keep them going and growing attracting business. Most pubs live on their regulars; the after-works, the sports fans and their neighbours, who come in week after week.

But the stats don’t lie – even the regulars are decreasing in number. A simple measure to keep your regulars is providing value. It is likely that one reason for the decline in pub-visitors is the economic climate – buying alcohol to drink it at home is cheaper. You must show them that the value they get from visiting your pub exceeds the tangible penny-saving; you must make it clear that their visit matters to you. Isn’t that part of the reason we go to pubs, to meet people, to feel part of a group?

Loyalty cards have been around for a while – but the standard paper or plastic ones are often more hassle than they are worth for the staff. Customers love the idea of getting rewarded – it makes them feel appreciated and that they are saving money. Our app is designed to give merchants an easy solution to this conundrum. You can read more about it here. So how might a loyalty program work for a pub, selling both drinks and food? Traditional loyalty cards often give a stamp per drink – and that’s it. Many newer solutions are fare more flexible – Loyalzoo included – and allows you to rewards for spend instead, giving you more options and freedom with how you want to reward them. You could give 1 point per £1 spent, and set up the rewards as follows: 10 points – complimentary bar snack, 20 points free pint of Becks/small glass house wine, 50 points – half price house bottle of wine. If you don’t want to give alcohol as rewards you could offer discounts on food as the reward, or even gift cards with third parties e.g. Amazon – 50 points – £5 amazon voucher, or 150 points – £25 Amazon voucher.

If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to get in touch – find our contact information here. We love a chat!

 

With Britain’s general election happening next week, tensions are running high across the nation. What will the outcome of the election be – and how will it affect you? After the financial crisis Britain has seen a fairly healthy turnaround, with annual increase in the number of new businesses started. The Small Business Federation says small to medium-sized business make up 99% of all businesses in the UK – so naturally they will impact the election, and many issues have been given substantial attention; Read more

Tomorrow, the 6th of December, is Small Business Saturday. A day dedicated to celebrate, support and inspire small businesses. Small and medium sized enterprises (defined as having fewer than 250 employees) make up 99% of the total number of business in the country. Of these, an astonishing 96% are micro-businesses, with between 0 and 9 employees. These account for a third of all employment in Britain, and nearly a fifth of total turnover. Those are some pretty impressive numbers – micro businesses are a vital part of our economy.

By supporting small businesses, ie. by shopping them instead of in the big brands, you give directly back to the community. Up to 70p per £1 spent in an independent shop goes straight back to the local community – benefitting not only you, but also your neighbourhood. In addition, small business bring great variety to our high streets, which otherwise would be identical copies of each other, with the same big brands everywhere.

As well as the financial, societal, reasons to shop locally, are tons of other perks. Independent shops are more often than not led by people who have a passion for retail and the products they sell – there is a reason they set up shop after all. In micro-businesses in particular, you can expect the staff to be more involved, more knowledgeable and more engaged with the business and its customers. In huge branches of global brands this is harder to come by – the employees are just there to earn a living, few of them have the enthusiasm for the brand, the product or it customers.
Go into your local butcher and ask for some help choosing your meat and chances are you’ll get an informed, useful answer. Likewise if you go in to a gift shop – ask the owner for some help choosing and you’re likely to be taken good care of. In my experience, shop owners love it when people show interest in their products. You will have much better shopping experience and you’ll contribute towards your community.

So why not make life a little easier for yourself this December – avoid the huge brands, the big sweaty queues camouflaged as streets (I’m talking to you, Oxford Street) and take instead a relaxing stroll around the independent shops in your area? You might come across brands and products you haven’t seen before, a new favourite café or a great design shop. And rest assured that the money you spend are put to good use, feeding back into the area and the people who live there.

You can find more information about the initiative on https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/
On Twitter: @SmallBizSatUK and on Facebook: www.facebook/SmallBusinessSaturdayUK.

Black Friday is the day after American Thanksgiving, the fourth Thursday on November, and has in the last decade become the biggest shopping event of the year. Major retailers are eager to kick of the holiday shopping season which means Black Friday is a day for spectacular offers, leading to masses of spend-thrifty shoppers hitting the stores. It is comparable to Boxing Day as is observed by Britain and much of the commonwealth.

Black Friday is becoming increasingly more important for business this side of the pond too –  news channels are already reporting extreme conditions in shops and supermarkets due to the masses hunting the best offers.

The term Black Friday has several possible origins; one stems from Philadelphia in the 1960s, the term used to describe the huge masses of pedestrians the day after Thanksgiving. An alternative explanation refers to Black Friday as the start of profit making – the first day shops go from the red to the black in the books (from loss to profit). Both explanations make sense; masses of shoppers looking for good deals naturally lead to good results for retailers.

In America retailers traditionally open their doors extra early on Black Friday – as early as 5 or 6 am is not uncommon and camping outside the shops to be the first ones in was popular to the degree that the practice got banned as a result of the safety risk this posed – with masses of people blocking roads, access to hydrants and emergency exits.

With many retailers offering some serious discounts – often around 70% – there is no wonder the day has become exceptionally popular with both retailers and consumers, perfectly timed to start the shopping for the upcoming season.

If you’re headed out there, we suggest you brace yourself with a triple fill of patience, sharp elbows and optimism. Think of it as the Hunger Games of shopping – you need to be clever and strong and persevere in times of difficulty (ie. when you are trapped in a flood of moving shoppers going the opposite way you want, when the toddler behind you decides to test his or her lung capacity or when the staff is demonstrating How Not to be Efficient – a treat often saved for the busiest of times!).

Happy shopping!

The last few decades have seen a rapid decrease in the number of pubs around our fair isles. A fresh report from Camra, Campiagn for Real ale, suggests that as many as 31 pubs close down every week. And the total number of pubs is at an all-time low – 54 490 across the UK. Still a high number, but considering a staggering 3% of all pubs in the suburbs have closed over the last 6 months, there might be reason to worry.

Historically, the pub was a place to go and socialise with the community. Pubs, short for Public Houses, served as a gathering point in a neighbourhood, a town or a village – a place to enjoy a drink in others’ company. Their function has changed slightly, but largely its position as a place to meet friends for a drink (or two – three – four!) has remained. In cities and urban areas the majority of pub-goers are workers – heading to their local after the day finishes to wind down. In more rural areas the traditional importance of it as a meeting point for the community is of higher importance – many places there are few other places to go, outside ones homes.

To have a place to meet, planned or at random, after work, an early afternoon or a late evening, is wonderful. You don’t have to commit to having people over, you can stay as long as you’d like, and there is an almost guaranteed great atmosphere. Whether it’s for sharing joys or worries, supporting your favourite team in whichever sport, or simply watching a game with everyone in the pub because you suffer from FOMO* – the pub is a great, social institution.

The decline is partly to blame on the economic climate of the past few years. Many people would rather buy alcohol cheaply from the supermarkets and consume it at home, than sharing a pint of craft beer in a pub. Independent pubs, or those ran by individuals, can’t compete on price. As their revenue goes down, and it gets harder and harder to justify staying open, there is little standing in the way of larger shops or supermarkets waltzing in and taking over.

We like pubs. We go there regularly, for one or two, with many or just a few friends. Sometimes for food, other times for drinks. Every so often for sports, with friends or family. Can you imagine your local community without the pubs? Even if you don’t go often yourself, there is no denying they bring life and buzz to the community.

On the facts-and-stats side of things, it becomes clear that pubs are worth keeping. According to Camra’s recent research, it is poor planning legislation which is the big bad wolf in the decline of pubs. They also claim that pubs account for more than a million jobs, and that each pub contributes an average of £80,000 to its local community each year. Can we really afford to lose anymore, only to see yet another cloned supermarket outlet in its place, losing not only the jobs and value from the pubs, but its social importance and historical value?

Support your local – and contribute to keeping your community alive. Cheers!

*FOMO – Fear of missing out. The feeling you get when your friends are doing something without you, even if it is an activity you don’t enjoy. ‘I hate rugby but I’m having FOMO because they are all there!’