Monday, 23 August 2010

New services for rural retailers available

What type of shops do we support? What support is available?

Our aim in the RRR-project (2008-2011) was to increase the number of multifunctional shops in our region. A multifunctional store refers to a store that provides a wide range of services in addition to groceries. The shop has the ability to survive also in regions where the population is diminishing. Services can be both public and commercial.

Due to the multifunctionality of such rural stores the retail owners must be able to handle a variety of tasks. Four factors are especially important and vital in order for a multifunctional store to be successful and are bottlenecks which this project will attempt to solve:

1. The retailers’ roles and competence levels.
2. The commitment from the communities.
3. Institutional frameworks.
4. Distribution

Following this, it is important to develop retailers’ abilities to address these factors. They must be good retailers, of course; however they must also deal with different issues associated with social services, entrepreneurship and the various multifunctional services which are offered in addition to the regular grocery store retail.

RRR project staff helped to overcome the bottlenecks of establishing multifunctional stores and supported the start-up and running of these kinds of stores.

RRR participants did for example:
  • Provide retailers consultancy on developing the best store models
  • Provide multi-functional retail entrepreneurship programmes locally and trans-boundary in face-to-face work shops and via the Internet
  • Implement the best multifunction retail strategy models for the participating retail shops including service/ product selection planning
  • Put in place and implement transnational collaboration (training, exchange of experiences and contacts between retailers, consultants and partner institutions)
  • Set up a functioning e-retail platform 

Results of the activities, examples:

  • Improved/ more focused selection of products or services
  • Souvenirs, crafts, local products, tourist information stand, video hire, hardware etc…
  • Improved visibility of the shop (web, social media, other material)
  • eTrade (web shop)
  • Joint purchasing
  • Improved management of stock/ store, customer care etc skills
  • Improved health, safety and food standards
  • New furnishing
  • Other facilities like laundrette, videoconferencing, meeting room

Results of the activities, indicators 12/2011 

  • The aim of the project was to support at least 97 shops and to enhance 11 shops to become multifunctional 
  • 127 shops were involved in project activities
  • 41 shops adopted new multifunctional solutions
Further results and examples on final seminar presentations.

Available products and services are listed here.

Let’s continue working together to keep the cash flowing in rural shops!