To celebrate its new trade website going live on the 1November, STG UK has launched a new initiative inviting retailers to share their stories of how they have, or intend to, give back to their local community.

The deserving ‘Local Heroes’ will be awarded a host of prizes, including a £2,000 cash prize to put towards their proposal.

Jens Christiansen, head of marketing and public affairs at STG UK, commented: “We recognise the essential role that independent retailers play in local society. They are often considered the hub of the community and are greatly affected by issues in the areas they operate in.  While retailers are in the business of delivering services to their local community, they often go above and beyond the call of duty to offer support to those in need. By celebrating their achievements and ambitions through our new Local Heroes initiative, we want to help them strengthen their relationship with the local community, and therefore help strengthen their business.”

STG UK will select a retailer to be named a ‘Local Hero’ every three months and along with the cash prize, the retailer will also receive a selection of product stock to help support their business. To enter, retailers need to visit the new STG UK website, and complete a form with details of how they have, or would like to, support their local community.

The Local Heroes initiative is running as part of STG UK’s ongoing ‘Let’s Talk’ campaign which has been developed as a result of research conducted earlier this year that suggested retailers are missing out on tobacco sales due to a lack of proactive engagement with customers.

STG UK has loaded content on the website that will offer retailers advice to help them open the conversation with their customers to maximise the cigar opportunity in their stores.

Christiansen continued: “The relationship between independent retailers and their customers is integral to sales success, especially within the tobacco category. Taking the time to engage with shoppers and forge a stronger connection by proactively offering advice can really pay off in sales.

“The average profitability for cigars is double that of cigarettes, so it’s really worth investing the time and effort in understanding the category and different products available so you can in turn offer well-informed advice to your customers.  With the launch of our new website, we want to provide retailers with all the tools they need to help them take advantage of this opportunity, so they can successfully grow and enhance their businesses.”