32 shops are closing every day in the UK according to the latest report by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Wow…surely our High Streets can’t sustain this rate of closures?

But is this all bad news for independent retailers? Well, reference the footfall and the appeal of our town centres and high streets up and down the country it is a major worry. The simple truth of the matter is that less people are shopping in towns. Partly due to cheaper (or free) out of town parking and the convenience of big superstores where you can buy all you need under one roof but also due to the online shopping revolution.

However, if you are an independent retailer your customers generally come to you simply because you are you. You are unique, you sell something different from the big stores and you can offer the customer something your largest competitors never will; a personal service. And this is particularly key at the this time of year as consumers gear up for Christmas. So make the most of your window space and keep an eye on current trends.

On a positive note, if you are looking to expand your current business, or start a new one, there are probably plenty of vacant premises in your area. Some of these will be in good locations, perhaps a better location than your current shop, which might be worth snapping up as this recession can’t last forever, right? And whilst we are in a downturn, you are in a better position to haggle with landlords who don't want empty properties on which they still have to pay rates. If you can't get the rent down enough, go for rent free periods whilst you fit the shop and establish your business. Six month's to a year's free rent is not as rare as you may think. Or try to get the rent staggered over the lease period, with an annual increase over time as you grow your business. And don't forget to build a break clause in to your lease as a safety barrier.

If you are a multi-channel retailer and you have a bricks and mortar shop as well as an online store (shame on you if you have not) this most definitely helps your reach as far as winning new customers is concerned, and allows customers stumbling across your physical store to keep buying from you wherever they may live. But you do need to make sure your online offering is engaging to the browser and being found by search engines.

Now is a crucial time, more than ever, to make sure your e-commerce store is as good as it can be. As a UK wholesale jewellery supplier selling 90% of our stock online we know the importance of getting your online offering right. With a good selection of products as well as easy navigation, good product information and nice images we know by feedback from our customers that the Miss Milly store is engaging and easy to use.

As a new brand in the UK wholesale jewellery marketplace we also know that we need to be found on Google. That’s why we have worked just as hard on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) as we have on the design of our store. The Miss Milly jewellery store launched just over six weeks ago and we are already in the top ten on Google for the key phrase wholesale costume jewellery UK.

So my tip to you: if you are looking to invest in your future, invest in good e-commerce web design and effective SEO and hang on in there; business and life are cyclical. Independent retailers will help to revive our High Streets if they take charge of their destiny and reach out positively to consumers in all the ways they can. x