We hear it over and over. "Good business citizenship" matters to shoppers.Especially for retailers, who are quasi-public figures in their communities. (AND in a goldfish bowl.)
Customers vote with their feet, their wallets, and their hearts, and increasingly choose those retailers who "do the right thing", whether it's how they source product, hire and pay employees, reduce environmental impacts, etc.
There are things that independent retailers do day in and day out, without perhaps even realizing how special they are!
Most retailers we know are "aw shucks" type people. It's charming, but, especially in today's world, your leadership can be a competitive edge! So, why keep it a secret?
Many of you are using social media to promote sales events, new product arrivals, etc. Why stop there?
Social media – and your website – is the perfect place to share examples of the values that drive your business. And face it; those values may be too scarce today. They need to be featured!
- Do you have tuition support for your employees? How about a tally of how many have taken advantage? Or, did you have a summer intern who's about to head back to college? Give them a shout out.
- Do you have an Employee of the Month award? Who has been recognized, and why? (Then run off copies of that write-up, and use them as bag stuffers.)
- Do you have a policy of supporting X hours of paid time off for employees doing volunteer work in the community? Why not recognize the array of organizations/groups that have benefitted from these volunteer hours? (Maybe a sign at check out?)
- Or, what about recognizing what your employees are doing on their own time for the community. Church leadership? Volunteer firefighter? Coaching youth sports?
- What about your policies for sourcing product? Don't assume that everybody in the community understands this. People have lots of other things on their minds.
- And that unsaleable merchandise you routinely donate to local charities? Those contributions are worth a mention (and may prompt some donations from others.) Might your website be a place to mention it?
- What about your employees? How well do they understand your store's values and standards? While Millennials have gained the reputation of caring about these issues, they matter to all of your employees.
As a retailer, you likely are one of the civic leaders in your community. It's okay to let people know. In fact, your customers want to know, and in their own way, they want to embrace your civic leadership.
Yes, retail IS a mirror of society. You and your employees are making important contributions to your communities. There's no time like the present to acknowledge and celebrate them!
Guess what. Your shoppers would love to know you better!