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Shopping with small businesses makes us happy

With trust in big business at an all time low, research signals a new era in consumer purchasing habits, with small businesses having the advantage.

A recent study of 2,000 UK adults, commissioned by us here at Avery WePrint, has revealed that there's more to purchasing from a small business than just supporting the local community. The study suggests it actually makes us feel happier when we purchase from a large corporation.

Why shopping with a small business is satisfying

Over 80% of Brits reported feelings of happiness or contentment when they purchased from a small business. This figure dropped to just 53% feeling this way after purchasing from a large company.

A quarter of Brits said choosing to buy from a small business actually made them feel good about themselves. The feeling applied to a range of purchases such as haircuts and fresh fruit and vegetables to larger, special purchases like new furniture for the home. In fact, over three quarters of Brits said they would put their trust in a small, local chain or an independent when making a big purchase.

What large companies can learn from small businesses

The personalised service offered by small businesses was cited as the number one benefit of buying from them, with over 60% of Brits agreeing with this. This was closely followed by good customer service, feeling valued and being able to deal with the same staff.

We've really taken the findings to heart here at Avery WePrint. We have tried to offer a service that mirrors what people like so much about small businesses. We've made it easy for anyone to design their own branding materials such as product labels, business cards and laptop skins with flexible online design tools. At the same time, we've got a small, friendly and knowledgeable UK customer services team at the end of the phone who are always happy to talk to customers through any enquiries.

There are definitely some lessons in customer care that big businesses could learn from. A frustrated 58% of Brits had experienced poor customer service at the hands of a large organisation including waiting on hold for more than 30 minutes, no-one getting back to them and excessive cold-calling. The top three big business customer service fails were found to be unpleasant staff, being ignored or forgotten about and receiving an impersonal service.

Brits are more likely to trust small businesses

Unsurprisingly, Brits were more likely to put their trust in a small business owner than the CEO of a large company. A third of people felt that small business owners were trustworthy, but just 5% of Brits felt that the CEO of a big business could be trusted.

When asked how they'd describe a small business owner, the number one response was "hard working", cited by almost 75% of people. Trust is so important in business, especially with so many consumers feeling that they have been let down by big companies and poor service. Our WePrint service also found that almost a third of Brits stated they had to trust someone before doing business with them. So the UK's small businesses have a clear advantage here. Small businesses are often better positioned to offer the personalised and flexible service consumers are calling out for.

What are the top ten products & services Brits want from small businesses?

  1. Haircut
  2. Restaurant meal
  3. Fresh produce e.g. fruit & vegetables
  4. Takeaway tea & coffee
  5. Greeting cards, gifts and presents
  6. Car repairs and services
  7. Books, newspapers and magazines
  8. Snacks and food to go
  9. Jewellery
  10. Artwork

Want more information? Check out our infographic below!

Are you part of a small business? Comment below and let us know why your customers love buying from small businesses. Want to create new business stationery? Check out our Business Get Inspired page to get you started.

28 August 2015