The Centre for Retail Research recently claimed that 5,000 more shops could be killed off by March due to the online boom, which accounts for approximately 20% of spending.

But before retailers slump under more news of doom and gloom ahead, take a step back. We are a nation of shoppers, and we love to touch and feel. Whilst the internet is great for electronics, music and toys, we are perhaps lucky to find ourselves in the gift, jewellery and accessories market where consumers like to feel the quality and it's not so easy to compare a particular necklace in various different online retailers. 

And this is why it is so important to keep that personal and individual relationship with your customers and the local population. An independent retailer's brand is very powerful, and it is constantly communicated through your physical presence from your window display to how your staff greet customers and the packaging you provide. And this is why it's so important to get the branding right and to use it consistently throughout your business to engage with your customers from your social media and website to your product selection.

In my previous business incarnation, we had a company name that had nothing to do with what we offered, and we were often asked where it had come from. Whilst this was a good talking point with the minority, the majority were just a bit baffled by it. When my new company launched last September, I was instantly greeted with a chorus of "that's such an improvement, it really works with what you are doing" and my customers engaged immediately with the new brand.

Miss Milly as a wholesale jewellery supplier needs to stand out from its competitors, and we have worked hard to use our branding as a differentiator. From the logo to the website, brochures and adverts, we have created a consistent image and and  feel to the brand that portrays the essence of what we are, and this has paid dividends in the number of new customers registering with us.

We are really looking forward to this coming Sunday when we take the brand a step further with the launch of our new  product ranges and our brand new exhibition stand at the Spring Fair, NEC. We have ensured that the brand and the products are the highlights of the stand with no conflict from the display equipment. The gorgeous Spring wholesale costume jewellery collections and the all new Annanova wholesale purses range should stand out a treat.

If you are attending, we'd love to see you on Stand C18 in Hall 19.