Walk Shop?MSYS on another journey

Wednesday, September 16, is National Walk Shop Day, the designated start of the on-going campaign to remind consumers that local shops are eco-aware and places where they can save money.

To make this happen, retailers themselves will be encouraged to promote their environmental and penny-wise credentials at store level.

One major symbol group has attributed a 20% increase in its retail sales partly to walk and save principles.

MSYS is about creating unique marketing platforms for the independent retailer out of nothing – platforms which did not previously exist.

Many retailers already engage in community activity of one kind or another. Many recognise the climate change issue as it soars up the Government and consumer agenda. They offer shoppers bags for life for instance.

What MSYS does for the sector is to help independent retailers package their community involvement into a marketing activity which will attract attention to the focal nature of the shop, its owners and staff and so promote footfall.

Every mention of MSYS in any context – and there have been multiples of thousands of mentions in the consumer media, trade media and promotional activity since launch in 2004, adds to the steady drip signalling the importance of ‘community’ to any local shop.

Walk Shop is an additional selling platform for the independent to use according to his or her inclination and marketing ability.

PRAG PLANNING SINCE 2007

PRAG, which drives the MSYS campaign, has been involved in the creation of the Walk Shop concept since 2007, and in the updating work which has produced National Walk Shop Day.

Walk Shop was the subject of a highly successful consumer media campaign by Seventy Seven PR in the autumn of 2008, sponsored on behalf of MSYS by Unilever brands Flora and Persil Small Mighty.

IMA Group undertook research in the marketplace which produced key facts now being used in NWSD (see MSYS website on how retailers can download their own individual store CO2 savings poster, showing the quantities of CO2 which are NOT produced by their walking customers).

Many, not all, independents are operating in a location where they can promote the three consumer benefits arising naturally out of walking to shop locally.

Consumers will:

1.Reduce CO2 emissions by choosing to walk to the shop rather than using a car.

2. Control food spend by buying for immediate needs thus avoiding throwing away over-bought food.

3. Reduce spending on petrol.

RETAILER BUY – IN

A Liverpool retailer says Walk Shop is not for her because very few people drive to her store anyway. So be it, but the point may be missed.

By walking to her store her shoppers are not producing a certain amount CO2 emissions and they should know this – many, not all, will find it a point of interest as climate change issues hit the front pages daily.

Another retailer in Staffordshire is grasping every element of the concept – realising that among her customers she has many who are eco-aware and also anxious to avoid food waste.

Was it ever any different in our marketplace? No it was not, but on reflection the Liverpool independent may find, in the Walk Shop menu something to her taste.

Wednesday, September 16 has been designated as National Walk Shop Day because every campaign needs its special day. It is a lottery day which has its natural increase in store visits.

See www.myshopisyourshop.co.uk or email msys@fwd-uk.com

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=== retailer guide to walk shop ===

The FWD My Shop Is Your Shop campaign has published a four-page newsletter (above) giving a comprehensive guide to retailers for the forthcoming National Walk Shop Day on September 16. It includes the story of the development of the concept from 2007 to the present day and a page of ideas which retailers can adopt or adapt for the Walk Shop campaign. The newsletter can be downloaded from the website www.myshopisyourshop.co.uk or requested by email from msys@fwd-uk.com

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=== Step out for Geeta’s walk dance 16/9 ===

Get up to join the ‘walk dance’ at Wheaton Aston, Staffordshire, community centre and you could win a prize. It’s one idea that local retailer Geeta Doal will be putting on to promote National Walk Shop Day (NWSD) on September 16.

Geeta will invent dancing steps to music and rehearse the routine for people to join in at a dance at the local community centre on September 16.

With her husband Charanjit, Geeta runs the Lifestyle Express Doal Food and News in the village.

“I will make a speech reminding dancers of the health benefits of walking and suggesting they leave their cars at home and walk to the shop,” says Geeta.

She adds: “We cannot believe how our shop trading has picked up since we became involved in the MSYS campaign last year. We have found a real sense of community spirit.”

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=== local shoppers eco aware ===

Shoppers using independent retailers are among the country’s most enthusiastic Greens when it comes to free plastic shopping bags. Shops report dramatic declines in their usage.

Sylvia Winter says she uses 50% fewer bags than a year ago; Sunder Sandher reports an 80% reduction; Lesley Brown has not ordered plastic bags for two years; Ralph Patel reports a 20% reduction and Prashan Shah says he is buying fewer bags because so many of his customers refuse his free ones

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