NFRN CEO Paul Baxter says retailers must act now to succeed in today’s increasingly competitive trading environment.

Dare to be different is the challenge that I have been throwing down to the industry of late.

In a speech to IGD Wholesaling 2017, in a panel discussion during the “Disrupting the traditional convenience model” session at the recent Local Shop Summit and at the launch of PayPoint’s new EPoS equipment, I have stressed the need for everyone to adapt, change and transform – in short to act – if we are all to remain relevant and to thrive in today’s increasingly competitive trading environment.

For the NFRN “Adapt, Change and Transform” has been our mantra for the past year and a half as it acts as a reminder that we as an organisation – along with  our members – must take up new opportunities and meet fresh challenges if the current pressures facing independent retailers are to be overcome.

For us it’s not just a blithe statement – we have been through significant change as we adapt, change and transform to meet the needs of a changing membership and time-pressed retailers.

That’s why, unlike others, we are throwing our support behind deposit return schemes for plastic, glass and aluminium bottles and cans.  We want to ensure that such a scheme is right for independent retailers, that it is cost neutral and that returns are collected regularly. That way we are looking after the environment, our customers and members.

It’s also why, through our own subsidiary company NFRN Commercial, we have launched our new Everyday fascia and offer.  We want to help independent retailers grow their businesses while at the same time create a point of difference.

Unless you are unique you have to change something.  You may think you understand your customer but there will still be ways in which you can offer something new. Use technology to gain a better grasp of your business and your customers to help identify other opportunities to expand your operation.  This could include introducing parcel collection or embracing social media and the internet.  Through information, you can better tailor your offer and be different.

As an association representing independent retailers the NFRN is always willing to go that extra mile so it provides leadership to the industry, offers confidence and credibility in its dealings and harnesses the talent of its organisation to meet the challenges of the future.  By acting in this way we are daring to be different. Perhaps it something that you could do too!

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