Independent retailers are hoping to lure shoppers away from computer screens and into stores this season via a flurry of local and national events.

Christmas 2015 is expected to be the biggest on record with Q4 spend forecast to grow by £2bn, according to Verdict Retail. However, a significant portion of those sales will be made over the internet, with online sales expected to rise by 12.4% on last year.

Dane and Hilary Vanstone of Holywell Stores in St Ann’s Chapel in Devon are hoping to increase spend and customer loyalty with a Turkey Tasting event on 28 November. Local people are being invited to taste the store’s locally-sourced turkeys and other local products, all of which can be ordered for Christmas.

Last year the event resulted in more than 60 turkey orders and this year Hilary is hoping for more thanks to a herb mix giveaway.

“The event brings people together in a fun and memorable way, but it’s also practical as shoppers can place their Christmas orders. It saves them having to go to the supermarket or wait in for an online delivery,” Hilary said.

In Barns Green, West Sussex, David and Pippa Heritage are planning an in-store event. Shoppers who attend ‘The Big Turn On’ will be treated to a glass of mulled wine, mince pies and carols before the Christmas lights are switched on. They will also be able to pre-order turkeys, Christmas trees and vegetables.

Meanwhile, thanks to increased advertising and promotion, including a bus tour of 29 UK town and cities, the third national Small Business Saturday campaign is expected to be the best yet at driving customers into small local stores.

While the marketing event will focus on Saturday 5 December, the campaign “aims to have a lasting impact on small businesses by changing shoppers’ mind-sets so that people aim to support small businesses all year round,” national campaign director Michelle Ovens said.

Small business saturday

Small Business Saturday is the UK’s most successful small business campaign. Last year 16.5 million adults supported a small business on the day.

The campaign was featured by all major media in 2014, trending at number one on Twitter on the day and receiving about 3.5 million views on its Facebook page.

This year the event carries the theme “5 million small businesses, 1 big day”. As C-Store went to press just under 7,000 small businesses had signed up to the My Small Business Finder on the website, www.smallbusinesss

Christmas push

“Events such as Small Business Saturday can help boost awareness of the need to shop local, however we strive to nurture this mentality all year round, but with an extra big push at this time of year.”

Binny Amin, Blean Village Londis, Kent

”We will be promoting Small Business Saturday in-store and on Facebook but we are also planning our own events including a late night shopping evening.”

Colin Woods, Amberley Village Stores, West Sussex