We’re currently being attacked.
A dramatic statement but a true one. Our business and many other independent schoolwear retailers like it have been in a battle for a while that’s now beginning to heat up. Who’s this battle with? The corporates, the supermarkets, major chain stores, for a while now they’ve been working hard to flatten us, to squeeze every drop of trade out of us.
They’re not winning. There are many things we can offer that they cannot begin to compete with. Customer service, businesses that care greatly about their customers’ needs and requirements, not selling just for pound signs, sure we all need to make a living, but because we care about what you want and are passionate about making sure you get it from a friendly happy atmosphere where nothing is too much to get the job done.
The big boys can never compete. Their stores are full of drones, they have no incentive to provide top drawer, they can get away with a lot less to fulfill their employers requirements. The people at the top in these corporations are the only ones with an incentive to perform above and beyond but they are so far removed from the front line they cannot affect it.
Currently one of the biggest known high street brands is embarking upon an aggressive school recruitment campaign to get the personalised garments available from their online service, offering gratuitous bribes, sorry I mean commission, to take the sales away from independents. Why should parents schoolwear purchases be taxed by the retailer to pay the schools, do we all not pay sufficient tax towards the education of our children already? What you pay for your garments should reflect the whole value of the item but this way you are paying more than the normal mark up so that the big chains can keep getting bigger and devouring the smaller shops.
Marketing from the moneybags is what keeps the false impression that they care, really care, about the customer. Bottom line is they want your pay packet. Not just for your food but also your clothing, your entertainment and your patio furniture!
A recent film by Pixar expresses my idea and belief of where this is all going. Wall-E. If you want to view the future of retail then this is it. A childrens movie this may be, hence my awareness of it watching it with my kids, but there are many adult undertones and concepts that many younger viewers will not understand. The film is based around a spent planet earth in the future, sucked dry by the corporation of the day; Buy ‘n’ Large. Petrol, Food, Leisure, you name it, all amalgamated into one huge company that controls it all. The result in the movie which probably mirrors the real future outcome is that consumers become drones, without individuality and identity, a slave to the monster corporate retail machine. Melodramatic? I personally don’t think so.
At the moment we have Tesco, Wal-mart, Morrison’s, M&S and similar large corporations bit by bit combining, growing, absorbing smaller businesses and taking over. These people have far too much power. It was actually one of these large names that used their power in government lobbying to initiate the OFT report into school uniform sales, the hopeful outcome being that all independents in the schoolwear trade would go bust and have to give up their trade to the majors. It didn’t work. We’re still here doing what they can’t; Servicing consumers with passion, pride, care and responsibility, all year around, not just enjoying your loyalty in prime time but putting our money where our mouths are and keeping an all year round stock holding should you need us off season.
Back to the point in hand: – Supporting the little people who have loyally supported you. There will hopefully always be the little person, please help keep us here.
STOP PRESS – Tesco’s doing local shops to include Post Offices, the beginning of the end?