Five Ways To Enhance Your Small Retail Business’s Natural Likability


Play Up Your SMB Charm With These Simple Tips

The grassroots movement is back: people across America are no longer blindly purchasing the cheapest option on today’s shelves.

People want to know where it’s made, how it’s made, and who is selling it. Even WalMart, one of the largest retail organizations in the world, has begun stocking its shelves with organic produce and items labeled “Made in America.”

Consumer demand is pushing large-name retailers to explore and develop areas of product acquisition they previously avoided.

Fortunately for the small retail business owners, local, sustainable, and personable are inherent qualities present in most small businesses from day one.

Small businesses are known for their mom-and-pop likeability and the appeal is simple: well-made products, a welcoming atmosphere, and easy, personable relationships between owners and clientele.

The mom-and-pop design gives small businesses a leg-up against big-name competition. This doesn’t mean, however, that small business owners can simply sit back and just wait for the trend-setting shoppers to come strolling through their doors.

Like icing on a cake, the success of small business can be sweetened with a few strategically-placed efforts:

1. Make Yourself Known

Market your business in unique ways. Print your produce store’s information on an orange or banana and pass them out from your booth at local farmer’s markets. Capture the referrals of other local businesses by introducing yourself and inviting your shop neighbor to lunch.

Keep in touch with your city’s chamber of commerce and be sure to get your business included in local directories, newsletters, and tourist handouts.

2. Location, Location, Location

Position your shop in a historical district whenever possible. Atmosphere is one of the most important elements of small-business appeal. People want to feel like they’re stepping back in time, walking in the footsteps of their grandparents and contributing to the nostalgia of future generations.

Research the history of your business’ town and capitalize on any interesting stories or rumors you can find.

3. Loyal Regulars

Remember the names, birthdays, and anniversaries of your regular customers. Listen to their stories and consider keeping a blog or online calendar to record and remind you of important dates gleaned through your conversations.

Offer preferred customer discounts and show your appreciation for their continued patronage by sending a card and a coupon around the holidays.

Maintaining relationships with these customers often pays for itself; they will continue shopping where they are appreciated and will often bring a friend or two.

4. Owner Involvement

Try to be visible in your business whenever possible. Knowing the Sandra at Sandra’s Cookies is something your customers can boast about.

Offer a face behind the name by introducing yourself during peak business hours and hire responsible, dependable staff you feel will represent you in a positive way.

To stay behind the scenes is to sever the direct, intimate connection many customers are so very eager to find.

5. Community Support

Attend local events. Support local legislature and be a part of small business committees in your area. Read the newspaper and stay abreast of what’s going on with your neighbors and competitors. Involve yourself in the things that affect your clients and your suppliers.

It pays to be involved in the community you depend on for revenue.


As customers continue to push for unique, friendly, and interesting shopping opportunities, small business owners will need to fine-tune their relationship skills and develop even further-reaching strategies to set them apart from other businesses in their area.

The genuine, relaxed art of forming customer relationships is already ingrained in the sweet delicacy of small retail businesses. Entice your customers that much more with a few calculated, creative enhancements.

Image: iStockphoto

About The Author

Jennifer Ludwigsen is a freelance writer with a colorful variety of skills gained from her time as a U.S. Army medic, mother of two, and ingenious life-lesson learner. She currently works for the largest medical group in Illinois in multiple administrative capacities, serving both the executive team and the vast practitioner and patient population. Jennifer has leveraged technology in multiple facets of her life to enhance her corporate day job, evening parenting job, and late-evening freelancing job. Connect with Jennifer on TwitterLinkedIn, and her website, Concentrated Creativity.