It's not enough anymore for a high street store just to sell products that people want, thinks James Robertson, who owns Isle of Skye Candles’ chain of five shops across Scotland including the store here at Buchanan Galleries. "You have to excite customers through experiences and offer a service that goes above and beyond," he says. "For independent retailers, it's often the difference between turning a profit or none at all."
His business, Isle of Skye Candle Company, stocks a range of natural, hand-crafted, candles, diffusers and air fresheners. They sell well, but regular workshops for customers on fragrance design contribute even more. The firm is also boosted by a recycling service that encourages repeat visits. Clients receive a discount on their next purchase whenever they return a used candle glass in-store. Robertson estimates that 180 people make use of the scheme each week.
These are two innovations that recently drew the attention of software company Vend, who included Isle of Skye on a list of "standout" small business. The "Remarkable Retailers" campaign, launched in partnership with the British Independent Retail Association (BIRA), championed 14 independent stores who have thought up creative ways to increase footfall and customer loyalty.
Congratulations to James and his team on this well-deserved achievement!