In continuation of the last entry on retail trends that will influence the future of local, independent retail in your town…
Community activism: More and more community resentment and opposition to growing chains like Walmarts and Starbucks arise as residents seek to prioritize their own community’s uniqueness, authenticity and economy.
Health care costs: Entrepreneurs (individuals) still have to pay significantly more in health care insurance than employees of companies – that’s just the way the government has it set up. As health costs rise faster than other expenses, it can be debilitating to an entrepreneur, which is why downtown business clusters are providing ‘main street’ health care packages that can better compete.
Changing consumer attitudes and behavior: Since the advent of the web, consumers expect retailers to be as efficient. Customer service, especially to the creative class, is increasingly a make-or-break characteristic for many businesses, and small businesses have the advantage if they so choose to make it one.
Sprawl and real estate development: If America’s Research Group is right, consumers are spending 20% less time in shopping malls since 2001 and 20% less time driving. There’s a return to town centers and urban downtowns, seeking a sense of place and sense of community. Indie retailers share the same values – they just need to make that clear.