Shopping with small businesses makes us happy

A study of 2,000 UK adults has revealed there’s more to purchasing from a small business than just supporting the local economy. The study suggests it actually makes us feel happier than when we purchase from a large corporation.

Over 80 per cent of Brits reported feelings of happiness or contentment when they purchased from a small business. This figure dropped to just 53 per cent 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 from essentials 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.

Marketing Director for Avery WePrint, Fiona Mills, commented on what the research means for the UK’s small businesses.

“The study shows just how much the UK’s small and independent businesses have to be proud of. We want to encourage these organisations to celebrate their status as a small business, it’s something very special. There’s no feeling quite like starting and growing your own business, so why not shout about it? The research shows just how much the British public likes the service they receive from small businesses. So if you’re proudly independent or a passionate small business that really cares, it’s worth communicating this in everything you do, from your business cards to branding and marketing materials, your packaging, presentation and your customer service.”

The personalised service offered by small businesses was cited as the number one benefit of buying from them, with over 60 per cent of Brits agreeing with this. This was closely followed by good customer service, feeling valued and being able to deal with the same staff.  WePrint’s Fiona Mills explained how business of all sizes could learn from these findings.

“There’s certainly a lot that larger companies can learn from how smaller organisations do business. At Avery WePrint for instance, we’ve really taken the findings to heart and 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 service team at the end of the phone who are always happy to talk to customers through any enquiries.”

It appears there are definitely some lessons in customer care that big businesses could learn from. A frustrated 58 per cent 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. WePrint’s Fiona Mills continued:

“Businesses of all sizes can learn from one another, what’s important as a business grows is not to lose sight of the values and service levels that were there in the beginning. Customers say they feel valued by small companies and that’s something every business should be trying to emulate.”

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 per cent 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 per cent of people. Yet only 22 per cent of people felt the term ‘hard working’ applied to big business bosses. Instead, words such as ‘ambitious’, ‘greedy’ and ‘materialistic’ featured highest on the list of words used to describe the CEO of a large company. WePrint’s Fiona Mills commented on the findings:

“Trust is so important in business, especially with so many consumers feeling that they have been let down by big companies and poor service. The WePrint research 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.”