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The Importance Of And Need For Small Retailers

Community Involvement

In a world which seems to get busier by the minute, people are losing touch with each other, and losing their sense of community. The local store is one place where members of the community can connect with each other, get to know each other and even meet to discuss issues of concern to them and their communities.

The store owner can ensure that a store becomes the centre of a vibrant community by considering what will draw the customers to your store.

Some examples include:

  • Entertainment for kids in a safe area outside the shop to keep them busy while mom or dad are shopping
  • Putting up a community noticeboard that will get people in the community to gather at the store to find out about local events.


The spaza shops and smaller retailers generally operate closer to the community than other retailers do, so they are able to provide their shoppers with greater convenience.

To make the most of the convenience of the location, the retailers must know what they could sell to their customers that would add to the convenience that they offer. For example airtime sales and prepaid electricity coupons, a wider range that includes some pharmaceutical products such as painkillers, antiseptics and plasters, or possibly a fast food or takeaway offering.


Larger retailers always carry a lot of stock, which they have to sell before it can be replaced with new or different stock. It takes them longer to carry out their decisions. This makes them inflexible when it comes to selling new products, or deciding not to stock other products that are not selling.

Small independent retailers carry less stock and can make decisions more quickly. This makes them more flexible, and able to respond more quickly to their shoppers’ needs.

A smart trader is always on the lookout for new and interesting products which can be introduced to the shoppers. This gives the small informal or independent trader “first mover advantage” in the marketplace.

Customer Contact

This is perhaps the small retailer’s most important advantage. The major retailers struggle to make their customers feel like the retailer cares about them while a small retailer is able to make them feel important by getting to know each and every one of their regular shoppers and learn about what they are looking for and which products and brands they prefer.