Independent Retail Resilience – How to Succeed Against the Odds

In a world that appears to be dominated by a handful of large corporate brands, independent retailer, Pen Heaven offers their advice and guidance on how small businesses can be successful in 2020.

As online retail continues to grow it can feel governed by massive corporations, but there are still ways to stand out and flourish as an indie brand according to Pen Heaven, especially in the growing consumer market.

“Internet giants needn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth, and sure, whilst you may not have the mass volume that they can offer, you have something perhaps even more valuable – a personable approach.” David Cole, Director, Pen Heaven.

Founded in 2008, Pen Heaven is a family-run online business specialising in a comprehensive range of writing instruments and leather goods, with in-house engraving and embossing.

As shopping trends continue to change, with more people wanting to make a ‘better’ purchase, it’s never been more important to know your niche and stick to it. Providing friendly expert advice on the product range is just one of a number of services Pen Heaven pride themselves on. From brand guidance to picking the right tools for the job, and providing excellent aftersales, the online retailer draws on their vast knowledge of their sector to give their customers a personal service.

“Effective customer service is where it is at for us. The entire team has extensive knowledge of our product offering, enabling them to give invaluable information and recommendations. This ultimately gives the consumer an unparalleled service.” David Cole, Director, Pen Heaven.

In the same way, your product selection should reflect your individual approach. For example, Pen Heaven offers a carefully curated collection with the customer in mind, trawling through 1000s of items so the client doesn’t have to. The luxury retailer’s website is tailored towards buying a pen first and foremost, giving just enough choice so as not to overwhelm. Nib sizes, compatible refills, coloured ink are all considered, with related and recommended items displayed on each product page. Oftentimes, too much choice can work against you as a retailer, leaving the consumer more confused and not making that all-important purchase, so remove that obstacle from the get-go.

“Our customers buy from us because of our refined product choice. They trust our judgement when it comes to brands and products, and appreciate the time we have spent hand-picking items so they can choose from an elite selection.” David Cole, Director, Pen Heaven.

Understanding your true USP’s is vital, and outlining these to your customers is a must that should be pushed at every opportunity. For instance, Pen Heaven offers in-house engraving on a majority of the products available and it’s a valuable selling point. A key trend that has been growing year-on-year, offering a personalised service of some sort is an excellent way to attract more consumers to your brand.

“Our personalisation service puts us above our competitors, and allows us to maintain lower costs and quality of service, not to mention a quick turnaround time.” David Cole, Director, Pen Heaven.

In addition, many consumers now demand transparency from the companies they choose to buy from, so try to be as clear with your values as possible. Be that your staffing policies to your stance on recycling, it’s important to show your company has a conscience.

Finally, it’s important to remember, you can’t be everything to everybody, and that’s okay. Instead excel in what you do; your handpicked products, your unique offerings, and your outstanding CS. It’s okay to be individual and unique.

Passionately Independent


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