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EDITORIAL Snug, NOVA, Wild, MusicMagpie: how smaller retailers can compete through innovative business models

Loving it: retailers are adapting to compete (Image: Wild)

As 2022 starts to slowly unfold before us, there is tentative signs that things may not be as bleak for retail as some had predicted. The lifting of restrictions and a slow return to stores is helping sales recover, while the massive popularity of ecommerce across the lockdowns also seems to be holding up.

The issue for all retailers and brands – and one that is most keenly felt by Growth 2000 retailers – is competition across all channels is now really fierce.

The ways in which Growth 2000 retailers are rising to this challenge are many and various, but together show just how agile and focussed most are.

Research out this week suggests that the biggest drivers for consumers looking to choose who to shop with are personalisation and speedy fulfilment. The study by KPS finds that businesses and brands are focused on implementing same-day delivery (60%), whilst customers favour convenience (66%) in their delivery expectations; personalised websites and apps (74%) led the way for respondents when it came to valued customisation and engagement.

One retailer that has focussed on this is sofa-in-a-box company Snug, which through investment in digital marketing and improving the speed and flexibility of its delivery has seen record sales of £31.6m in 2021, up from £7.1m the year before. The company had a particularly strong fourth quarter, with sales of £10.1m.

Similarly, bridalwear company NOVA by Enaura, is also focussing in on convenience and personalisation with the creation of an online bridal service that brings together the traditional personal touch found in a bridal store with online technology, at home try-ons and rapid delivery and returns.

But while personalisation and delivery are clearly key factors that drive consumers to choose any particular retailer, there are many other tropes that are also shaping choice.

Sustainability in production, packaging and operations is a key decision point for many shoppers, as borne out by the number of smaller retailers seeing it as their USP.

Refillable personal care and cosmetics company Wild has built its whole business on sustainability and has seen sales climb and generated £7.5m in investment to grow the business.

Similarly, has been working hard to become the first carbon neutral sportswear vendor, driven by its millennial and younger customer base looking not only for the top quality products they want, but also those which are environmentally friendly.

MusicMagpie, which is extending its gadget rental scheme from smartphone to tablets, games consoles and macbooks, has built a business on sustainability and convenience – and is testament to just how different retail models are here in the ‘20s.

These are just a few examples of how Growth 2000 retailers and brands are working to differentiate themselves and it augers well for the months ahead as they get ever more inventive.

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