Millennials rewriting the small business handbook

Hazem Sedda, Instagram star and local Sydney celebrity, is just one of the millennials changing the face of the retail sector through tech and their ability to think outside the realms of traditionalism.

If you’re a resident of Redfern, it’s likely that you have visited what’s dubbed as ‘The Greatest Convenience Store on Earth’. Located in Sydney, Redfern Convenience Store has a cult Instagram following of 9,000 followers, featuring ‘customers of the day’ to thank customers for their loyalty. On Facebook, there are 266 check-ins to the store – whereas that may not seem like a ground-breaking number of people checking in at a location – let us reiterate – it’s a convenience store.

The owner of the store, Hazem Sedda, has been rewriting the rules when it comes to running a successful, local, convenience store. Last year, he launched ‘Redfern Convenience Store’ spring water, with plans to launch further items under the brand in coming months. His Instagram page uncovers the hundreds of customers that visit from all over Australia hoping to become ‘customer of the day’ and enjoy their 15-minutes of fame.

It’s no surprise that millennials are using technology in order to reshape the small business community as we know. It’s a global trend extending outside Australia which has been attributed by some to the uncertainty in the job market. Millennials are flexing their familiarity with technology and reaping the benefits when starting and operating their businesses. In July, the latest change Hazem brought into effect was dropping the minimum card spend – scrapping his ‘$5 minimum’ that frustrates so many people at point of sale in stores.

“Australians are beginning to avoid stores which enforce minimum spends or do not accept cards, choosing to visit a different store instead” says Hazem. “I pride myself and the store on providing the best customer experience and want to make sure they all leave with a smile on their face, helping to keep Redfern Convenience Store as ‘the greatest convenience store on earth.’”

A study commissioned by Mastercard revealed that up to 56% of customers will choose to visit a different store if faced with restrictions on how they choose to pay. Four out of five Australians agreed that they resent restrictions such as minimum spends and charges when making payment by card – equating to 80% of customers having a negative experience.* Business owners cannot ignore the implications of not offering their customers choice.

Cashless convenience

It’s been a year since Brisbane welcomed Australia’s first cashless café. Following a number of successful cafés across Sydney, Pablo & Rusty’s founder and MD, Saxon Wright, decided to go totally cash-free. The tech-savvy entrepreneur decided to roll with the concept – but didn’t stop there. Passionate about offering customers options when it comes for paying for their morning caffeine hit, the Brisbane store also offers smart coffee cups. Provided by Frank Green, the cups have a chip embedded in them that are able to store credit card payment details. Across all of Saxon’s cafés, he also ensures that there is no minimum card spend – something that is a bugbear to Aussies across the country. Saxon attributes their success to listening to customers and offering choice.

There’s no doubt that the strategies we’re seeing business oriented millennials introduce and adopt could unlock similar benefits for small businesses across Australia. Technology is developing and improving the way in which small businesses engage with customers, creating a better experience for all involved – as well as benefitting the bottom line.