I’m often asked how small independent retailers can compete against the scale efficiencies and operational expertise of larger chains.

There are in fact, many ways, but always my first answer is about being authentic, about generating a unique passion.

That ‘passion’ must be genuine. It needs to be engaging and infectious. And that can only be a reality if the owner and the colleagues take an active interest in the customer, the shop environment, and most importantly in the product.

Large anonymous retailers work with traditional ‘supply chains,’ importing and distributing anonymous crates across their store estates. The product may well have been created with expertise and creativity, but by the time it reaches the shop floor its opportunity to excite both colleagues and customers has been somewhat diluted.

Local independent retailers must generate ‘Passion Supply Chains!’

Local independent owners are blessed because they own their product decision making process. And in a world of generic products, sold off generic shelves, they have a unique opportunity to seek out products, and suppliers, that fill them with passion.  To fill their shops with products they are passionate about!

It is this passion for products; what their inspiration is, how they are produced, and what they can do for the customer, that can be naturally and infectiously passed from producer to retailer, to shop colleagues and to the customer.

Indeed, local retailers should seek out passionate producers and suppliers who are also local, regional, or national. The shorter the supply chain, the greater the physical interaction, and the stronger the delivery of passion into shops.

This is the ‘Passion Supply Chain.’ It can compete and win against generic chains, and generic suppliers, who are simply delivering availability.

Assortment diversification delivers unique propositions, and genuine passion. That is at the heart of being authentic, engaging, and trustworthy.

Who wouldn’t buy from a shop like that?

It is my great pleasure to be the guest of Health Stores Ireland, at their “Putting Our Best Foot Forward” Trade & Partner Gathering, in Shannon on 29th January. Looking forwards to some lively and interesting discussions, as always.

In the meantime…

‘Passion Supply Chains’ are featured in the new book – ‘Meaning in the Retail Madness – How to be an Essential Retailer’

If you’d like to read my book for many more retailer insights and best practice. And to here my thoughts on retail’s future, then that’s an excellent idea.

'Meaning in the Retail Madness: How to be an Essential Retailer' Out now. Available worldwide across amazon and popular online booksellers

I hope that the sections on how to flourish in the ‘The life and times of the Essential Retailer’ how to evolve ‘Agile Organisations’ and excel in ‘Astute Strategies’ may be a source of inspiration and guidance. You will also find 70 action plans and 90 retail best practice insights that may help you to assess your current weaknesses and opportunities.

Enjoy your read.