I dropped my mobile phone on our driveway yesterday. Even though it was protected by one of those leather cases, the only exposed bit hit the ground first and shattered the whole screen. No worries I thought – there’s a new phone repair and supply shop opened in my local village. I’ll pop down first thing in the morning and sort it out.dropped-phone

Shortly after 9am I was outside the premises looking at one of those metal shutters wondering when and if they were opening on a Monday morning. There was no indication of times of business, just a display of logos of companies they obviously deal with. I gave up after a few minutes and thought I’d find more info on their website when I got back to the office.

Living half a mile down the road I would have expected something through the door to tell me such a shop was opening soon, but I don’t recall anything.

Back in the office and Google couldn’t find the retailer’s name. There had been a telephone number above the shop window but I had no pen on me and my phone was out of use anyway! I’ll now have to drive in at lunchtime and if they’re still closed I’ll probably give up on supporting a new local business and look elsewhere.

Contrast this with how our local independent bookshop promotes itself. In addition to Amazon, within 5 miles they have competition from Waterstones and WH Smith. They’ve won a range of awards over the past few years including ‘Independent Bookseller of the Year’ in 2009. They run local events, a book club and host a monthly screening of a recent film. Their website tells us all about their personality and what they do, and they’re on Facebook and have a Twitter account @simplybooksNo1

Indeed just today I have retweeted a @wearestockport message reminding us that Terry Wogan is appearing at the bookshop tomorrow.

The contrast in how these two retailers operate could not be greater. Perhaps we can put the lack of self-promotion at the phone retailer down to inexperience, but surely the bank or individual who funded the business start-up had to see that marketing and selling is paramount at the early stages.

I hope of course that both these businesses succeed. Engagement with potential and repeat customers is surely the key in the competitive world of retailing.