The MEN today reported that clothes stores have been suffering recently. Strange goings on such as the heatwave meant that people just didn’t fancy buying their chunky autumn knitwear and winter coats like they normally would at this time of the year. The effects of the recession are ongoing, and soon there could well be snow keeping people indoors and out of shops!
Up here in the North West we love our shops, and reports quite often come out saying that Manchester outperforms other shopping districts, thanks to the Trafford Centre, a great town centre, lots of students and people who…well….love clothes and stuff.
And we have some great independent clothes shops in our retail mix up here - it’s one of the things that makes Manchester great. We’ve got great variety, with high street and nice nestled together happily.
In these tough times though, it can be hard for smaller retailers to keep hold of their market share. Bill Carr has today said that companies in Manchester need to be thinking not just about conquering the UK, but about global domination. If you have an independent shop in Manchester, this might not seem like it really applies to you. But thinking bigger, not smaller, is really the only way to protect your business and do well in the run up to Christmas.
You might be a real favourite with the Northern Quarter crowd and have a good word of mouth following, but when the chips are down will you survive? You need to take Bill Carr’s advice and become more visible. More findable. A great looking website is the beginning; it also needs really handy functionality that lets customers make orders easily. It needs to be undeniably “you”, filled with your personality and brand, not some designer’s. And above all people need to be able to find it, to find you, to communicate with you and know where you are and what you do. It might not make you the next Next overnight, but it could help you reach new customers and avoid some of the heatwave/recession/snow related losses.
So come on Manchester retailers, time to ask yourselves, are you thinking big enough?