Monday the 11th August 2020 marked the start of the UK government’s Shop Local Week. As part of their Enjoy Summer Safely campaign they have launched this incentive to give the high street a much needed boost.
Often it is far easier for us to pop to our nearest supermarket or order online than it is to visit an independent retailer. Yet now more than ever local businesses are relying on our support.
Promisingly, a recent survey by YouGov found that 38% of Brits have started to shop locally during the COVID-19 pandemic and 70% expect to continue once lockdown eases. In case you need some convincing here are a few reasons you should support your local independent retailers.
- It supports your local economy
Shopping locally is an excellent way to directly support your economy. Research from the Centre for Local Economic Strategies found that for every £1 spent at a local business 63p ends up back in the local economy compared to the only 5p spent at a larger retailer.
- It is more sustainable
Your local butcher or greengrocer is far are more likely to have locally sourced, in-season produce. This will not only mean higher quality food but also reduces the carbon footprint of your shopping list as there are less travel and packaging involved.
- You can find unique items
Independent retailers usually offer a diversity of products you wouldn’t be able to find at a large chain retailer. People are often surprised by the range of items available at local shops but if you’re unsure it’s always worth checking their website or giving them a call to ask a few questions beforehand.
- It bolsters the local job market
The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that SMEs account for 60% of employment in the UK. Supporting local businesses also enables them to hire more local staff which then helps your surrounding community to grow.
- Personalized experience
Smaller shops frequently have the time and freedom to provide higher levels of customer service. Staff are also knowledgeable, it is far more likely that the staff in your local butchers will be able to give expert advice you wouldn’t be able to find in a supermarket aisle. Some places even create loyalty schemes for returning customers, something to remember the next time you want a takeout coffee.
Remember, if you’re pressed for time check to see if any of your local businesses offer online delivery or click and collect options. And if you do shop locally consider tagging them on social media or leaving them a review. Helping to boost their online presence can often be as beneficial as the purchase itself.