To ‘Shop local‘ is nothing new. The British Independent Retail Association (BIRA) has been championing local shopping since 1899.
The government even run campaigns to encourage shoppers back to local high streets.
There are numerous Shop Local social media sites peppered across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and even a day dedicated to Small Business Saturday – the first Saturday in December if you’ve missed it.
As Small Business Saturday states – “small businesses and the people that run them have a unique place in local communities across the UK and wants to shine a light on the benefits of shopping small.”
So what are the benefits of shopping local?
There are so many reasons to support local traders and for them to support you…
Safe Shopping – in a post COVID world, if we can really call it that as it hasn’t completely left us, our local shops have taken steps to ensure customers feel physically safe when visiting their premises. But deeper than that, customers can feel a sense of emotional safety from seeing the staff and owners face-to face, not hidden behind a website or social media profile.
There are so many occurrences of customers being “ripped off” or subject to “scams” that online buying, at a distance, can prove problematic and these stories weigh heavy on real, local businesses that dread misrepresentation, unreliable products or bad customer service.
There’s a lot to be said for looking the seller in the eye. The decision-making process unfolds in the brains of buyers and sellers considering a deal. In a collaborative study by Professor Michael Platt they found that these decisions were observable in eye movements and pupil dilation. Not so easy to do on a screen and online marketplace out there in the cloud.
Local Economy Support – Money spent local, stays local. Have you seen this photo?
It’s so true – in our case it’s been more about getting Ollie his driving lessons, and Amy supporting her kids through Uni, but the point is valid. Money spent locally will help local people. It stays in the community. Through staff wages, engaging with other local suppliers for IT or marketing support and community giving for the local pre-school or similar.
Even spending in the local shops and pubs – we all do our bit to support the local community.
Jobs for the boys – And we are not being sexist, this is just a phrase. But by buying local you can help keep local businesses active and growing. As a result they continue to create new jobs and take on local employees – we were so please when Ben joined us from the village we operate from. It really feels like keeping it in the family.
Community Focus – local businesses pay rates to local councils, generating a revenue that boosts local authority spending on services like libraries, parks and road surfacing to keep communities thriving.
Reduce your carbon footprint – buying local means that you are not incurring carbon miles. If you buy, for example you water softener salt online, do you know where it actually comes from? How many miles does it travel to reach you? And how many miles did it travel to reach your supplier’s warehouse before that? Our click and collect or delivery service keeps your carbon miles down – as well as your costs. Our salt prices are highly competitive, and the quality is second to none.
Better Experience – we know our customers and get to know them over the years of loyal service we provide. We are on first name terms with most people and recognise them on sight. Can an online transaction provide the same? Will an online chat bot ask you how your children or parents are? Does a website provide a chuckle with every engagement? Do faceless telephone operators do a charity walk for a fellow tradesman in the area? No. But we do and will continue to build relationships locally.
So next time you need to buy something – Stop. Think and shop local.