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Tesco Express v corner shop

This week's guest blogger is Gary Howard, Director and Managing Partner at Tangent Snowball and he's here with a quick overview of how direct mail can help make your smaller business a clear rival to the bigger names.

The convenience operations from the major grocery multiples are not traditional c-stores: instead, they are pared-down versions of their superstore offers. For independents, this means there are pressures to compete but there are also gaps in the offer to exploit. The independents must restate the convenience in c-store shopping, providing services and flexibility that cannot be found from the major chains.

There is a trend, during these times of austerity, to buy what you need locally rather than at the major grocery stores. But you constantly fight against the perception or the truth that out of towners are cheaper and better value. Consumers value having the store on the their doorstep, especially if they live in a rural community and they do want to loose it.

Communication is key, supported by defining the key differential. The ability to run local marketing campaigns, quickly at a cost that is not prohibitive. Brands also have a challenge to ensure that support is provided to independents to ensure that a valuable sales channel prospers, their brand is represented correctly in-store and that margin is maintained.

Online providers such as printed.com will enable an independent business promote their services using quality materials and bespoke to their requirements with a local message through their new MailShot Manager. Brands such as Carlsberg are offering their retailers access to local marketing services such and e-mail, SMS, direct mail and customisable Point of Sale through their solution www.CarlsbergWeDeliverMore.co.uk. Using Tangent Snowballs priority software, Carlsberg channels have access to valued business services to help save money, manage people and drive sales.

Make the message local, engender loyalty and deliver results.

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