How Small Retailers Can Take On Their GoliathsFounder of Retail Minded co-founder of the Independent Retailer Conference and author “Retail 101: A Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business”, Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle is passionate about retail and small business success.Ranked as the top retail influencer in 2015 by Vend, Nicole has been a speaker on retail subject matters ranging from marketing to merchandising to operations to being a “retailer” in general.

This week, Manthan interviewed Nicole to gain some insight on what small retailers need to do take on theirbig box competitors.

MANTHAN: In this era of personalization, do ‘mom and pop’ stores have the advantage?

Unfortunately, I don’t think mom and pop stores have an advantage even with retail becoming more and more personalized. I think these smaller merchants will always have to work harder than their big box competitors due to both publicity and budget – or lack of it. This said, I do believe mom and pop stores that aim to truly stand out among their local competitors have the advantage of doing so because they are independent. They are able to really make a unique, one-of-a-kind name for themselves.

MANTHAN: Can you tell us some ways in which smaller retail stores can compete with the big boxes?

Smaller merchants should aim to stand out among their local community for not only their great inventory assortment, but also their great customer service and in-store experiences. While this may seem easy, it’s actually a challenge that takes years to perfect. Those that do it right, however, gain repeat customers and valuable reputations unlike any big box store.

MANTHAN: You’ve recently come out with a book called Retail 101. Who should read this book and what can they expect to gain from it?

Retail 101 is intended for small business owners looking to gain applicable solutions and ideas to apply to their stores. Each chapter ends with an "Action Guide" that allows these businesses to help move forward in helping their stores succeed. It’s packed with valuable insight, ideas and realistic solutions uniquely for small business retailers.

MANTHAN: Do you think advanced analytics will help level the playing field for small and medium retailers?

Absolutely! It use to be that only the big box stores could afford to gain analytics on their business and therefore apply it to their businesses. Nowadays, however, smaller businesses have easy access to this at affordable prices. It’

MANTHAN: Please name one major change that you feel retailers need to start responding to.

Retailers need to keep up with the constantly changing pace of payment technology and paymentmethods. Whether it’s the new EMVguidelines (chip based credit cards) or Apple Pay, merchants need to stay in touch with all the changes in order to keep up with all the customers. This isparticularlyimportant for those businesses catering tomillennials.

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