As costs keep rising and margins get smaller, many local retailers may feel tempted by the benefits of joining a symbol group or fascia, while those already signed up might feel they could get a better deal elsewhere. SLR examines some of the best options available.
The retail business is tough and it’s only getting tougher. Perennially rising costs and ever fiercer competition mean local retailers need all the support they can get to run a successful, profitable business. One of the most effective ways of giving your business an instant boost is by either joining a fascia or symbol group for the first time, or by switching to a group that better suits your needs.
The lure of becoming part of something bigger is an enticing one and is one of the few decisions that an unaffiliated retailer can make that is all but certain to improve the business.
Access to much greater buying power and all the benefits that come with being part of a larger organisation can be the difference between profit and loss in today’s ultra-competitive market.
Joining a symbol group or fascia doesn’t mean that retailers need to lose their independence – quite the opposite. While the different groups all have different criteria that members must meet in terms of buying commitments and compliance, the one thing they all share is commitment to allowing local retailers to retain their independent status, something that’s non-negotiable for most.
But joining a group offers all the benefits of being part of a nationwide collective of like-minded retailers with access to big buying power and the many invaluable support mechanisms that membership of a symbol group brings.
The number of stores that now belong to one symbol group or another is fast approaching the 50% mark today, and that’s for a reason. One other point worth noting is that very, very few retailers decide to return to being unaffiliated after joining a group. They may subsequently switch symbols, but they don’t tend to go back to being unaffiliated once they’ve had a taste of what’s on offer as part of a bigger group.
So whether you are considering joining one of these groups for the first time, or are considering moving from one to another, this guide will provide you with the key data you need to make a fully informed decision as to which fascia is right for you.
The great news is that the range of choices available has never been greater. Each partner has its own strengths, but they all offer buying power, a household name above the door and a comprehensive support network covering everything a retailer needs to remain competitive in today’s retail environment.
Choosing a symbol group can seem an intimidating task. It is a big commitment, especially if you are already tied into a contract or faced with joining fees – whether this is in the form of an admin charge, buying shares or paying for signage or delivery. But there is no doubt it can pay huge dividends.
How to decide which symbol group is right for you will ultimately depend on your shoppers and what they want you to offer them. The pros for retailers considering joining or switching symbol groups are numerous and the cons are few.
Sometimes there will be a fee, but it may be worth the cost as often it gives additional industry-specific information that will support any application. This information, when backed by the weight of a symbol brand, can add an influential supporting voice to any finance application.
Retailers should ask themselves whether remaining unaffiliated is detrimental to their potential as a business. Whatever level you decide to go in at, do your research before determining which group is right for you.