I can’t match the big four advertising spend so why should I try?

The nbsp;big four spend millions on advertising their offering to the public. You don’t have that privilege. The MSYS campaign encourages you to advertise your store to your local community by engaging with the local community, supporting its activities, spotting local media opportunities -using your unique localness as a promotional platform to drive footfall. It works.

Some people, like me, are not “joiners”.

There is no requirement to become members of local groups, charities or sports clubs. For a start, you can demonstrate your support for them by advertising their meetings on your notice board, holding raffles and so on. Read the trade press for examples of retailers implementing ‘community ideas’ and copy them in your store.

What will this do for my trade?

The only business that can afford not to advertise or promote itself is the Mint. Ask yourself – are you doing enough by simply putting your latest price offer display material up in your nbsp;windows? If the answer to this is “yes” you are fortunate – carry on. If the answer is “no”, think about the MSYS culture. Thousands of your fellow retailers are doing so.

But I’m not a social worker!

No, we agree. You are an entrepreneur, nbsp;running your business your way. nbsp; But you come face to face with your neighbours and their children every day. It comes with the territory. If you don’t like people are you in the right job? Use this interface as a trading platform.

But the giants have small satellite c stores competing nbsp;with me. Surely nbsp;they can adopt MSYS and they’ve got lots of power and money

They have power and money and they are successful – but the manager does not own the Features > Business, they cannot respond to local demand in the same detail as you can. Their pricing, product nbsp;selection and merchandising agenda is set by a distant head office.

Managers could live 30 miles from the shop or more and they will be too focused on getting customers in and out at speed with no chat – so will their staff.

Your decisions are made by you. Use your localness and your knowledge of your community to the full. Localness has never been so nbsp;trendy.

But how do I know what my nbsp;customers want? The giants have got sophisticated consumer research on which they can base decisions.

You know what your customers want because they will tell you if you encourage them. It’s good to talk.

They will indicate their preferences. It might be for a local beer that the giants just can’t be bothered with, for example.

But talking to customers takes time.

Talking to customers in your shop is a unique opportunity for you. Staffing disciplines operated by the multiples do not allow for precious minutes to be taken up with queries about Sharon’s mother in law and her bad hip… it’s part of being a community nbsp;retailer

What is the definition of “localness” nbsp;and how does it help me? I’m baffled.

The slogan used by the MSYS campaign is “Local and proud of It”. It means you like where you live and the people and you are proud to be one of them and run their shop.

A multiple shop manager could live nbsp;miles away and travel to the shop every day… it’s a big differential. Local is a natural trading benefit because you are in the community and of it.

Your spouse and children will mix with local people and experience local ups and downs.

Why nbsp;do you think the giants are using “local” in their propaganda where they think they can get away with it?

My wholesaler is excellent. He helps me to improve my business and my nbsp;profitability. Why can I not sit back and rely on him?

Wholesalers today are all very efficient and professional. Your business needs their support and back-up. But your wholesaler is not behind your counter or in your office.

You are the interface with your customers who will determine the bottom line.

MSYS is a promoter, a motivator, to give you ideas and self-confidence in trading on a community platform to maximise the service you get from your wholesaler.

Does MSYS work?

Thousands of independents are adopting and adapting the principles of MSYS. You must have seen the photographs in the trade press of retailers wearing the iconic MSYS yellow T-shirt.

They support local charities, clubs and institutions, sponsor junior soccer teams, watch out for the old and lonely and vulnerable…

That’s what MSYS is here to do – to help you package your community involvement. It’s something the giants would love to do – but the manager does not own the business and so he can’t say “My shop is your shop too”.

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