Why we are different

Independent Retail Europe represents retail groupings characterised by the provision of a support network to independent SME retail entrepreneurs, joint purchasing of goods and services to attain efficiencies and economies of scale...

 as well as respect for the independent character of the individual independent retailer.

Our members are groups of independent retailers, associations representing groups of independent retailers and wider service organizations built to support independent retailers or groups of independent retailers.
The following positive aspects of our members’ business models ensure a more diverse market, for the benefit of the consumer:

 

Driving retail entrepreneurship

One way in which independent/SME retail entrepreneurs can reach their full potential, whilst retaining their independence, is by joining a group of independent retailers. Such groups are often business cooperatives, characterized by a cooperative structure of independent retailers operating under one brand name, or symbol groups, characterized by a participative structure of independent retailers. The group business models of our members allow independent retailers to mutually assist each other, and achieve economies of scale, using their group network. They can also fully participate in developing the group strategy and they can play a prominent role in its management.

The end result is that individual retail entrepreneurs are able to grow their businesses and successfully compete with large integrated chains in their localities. Due to the stable nature of this business model, this growth happens sustainably and over the long term.

 

Achieving efficiencies through economies of scale

Joining a grouping of independent retailers allows SME and Independent retailers to achieve economies of scale in purchasing consumer goods. It also gives economies of scale in purchasing (amongst others) energy, telecoms, training, advertising and financial services.  The independent retailers are free to adapt their shops and product offer to their local clientele.

 

Creating a more diverse, sustainable, competitive and friendly market place

The presence of groups of independent retailers on the market benefits consumers by ensuring a more diverse, sustainable and competitive market place. The consumer is the ultimate beneficiary as such a market place widens consumer choice, responds to consumer expectations and leads to lower consumer prices.

As it is independent, entrepreneurial retailers who make up our groupings, levels of customer service at the point of sale are extremely high. This is due to an independent retailer always wanting the best for his or her business.

 

Giving a local touch

Our members believe in the local touch. This is achieved not only through stocking local products but also by contributing to local and regional development. This can be through developing close relationships with local or regional producers, and service providers, ensuring that the local/regional economy benefits. It can also be done by investing profits back into local communities through local spending and via sponsorship of local events, teams and community projects. Independent retailers that are part of our groups can be found in busy urban areas as well as sparsely populated rural areas and small villages. Their shop sizes can range from very large to very small, depending on and adapted to the locality and the local consumer.


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