Why supporting local shops and businesses is so important
The last 15 months have taken their toll on businesses, and none more so than local independent shops who often have no online presence.
Choosing where to shop is a privilege that we enjoy in this country. By supporting independent shops you are helping to ensure the continued vibrancy of our high streets and supporting the whole of your community. We explore the impact that your decision can make and why it is so important.
The impact of Covid and the rise of online
Research from the Office of National Statistics shows that the proportion of online retail increased to a record level in January 2021 reaching 35.2% up and was far higher than the 19.5% in January 2020. It is estimated that e-commerce will account for one third of all retail sales by 2024. The acceleration of online sales has always been expected, however the pandemic has meant that the fast forward button has been pushed. Unlike retail chains, independent businesses often don’t have an online presence and therefore have missed out on this e-commerce boom.
The local economy
Research estimates that £10 spent with an independent shop means up to an additional £25 goes into the local economy. When people shop in an independent they are supporting the creation of local jobs, and a vibrant and varied town centre draws in visitors who in turn spend money. It’s a positive money multiplier effect and a prosperous high street means a more resilient local economy.
It doesn’t have to be expensive
Recently I have been visiting more independent shops than I have done in the past and I have been pleasantly surprised at the prices. Cheapest shouldn’t always win and it is all right to spend that little bit more for quality locally sourced or produced goods. Research done by Visa showed that almost half of small business owners say if everyone in their local community spent just £5 a week with small business then this would be enough to keep them open long term.
Support for the community
Local business are far more likely to support local charities and events. The owners often live within the community and have a vested interest in making it s great place to live. They also want to give something back to the communities who support them by buying from their business. It’s often the local business that you see sponsoring the town football team or supporting local schools.
Helping the environment
With online sales growing the carbon footprint of having all these purchases delivered also increases. Independent shops often stock products which are locally sourced and their produce is usually what’s in season in the UK – less field to fork miles is good for everyone. So taking a stroll down to your local high street has many environmental benefits including reducing air pollution and reduced traffic.
Independent shops often carry product lines which are just that bit different. Finding an original gift or something special for yourself or home, can support local entrepreneurs who may be just starting out.
The personal touch
These shops are run by real people who have embraced their passion and taken the bold step to create a business from it. Quite simply these people genuinely care about their customers and appreciate their support.
The long term
The future of our high street is unknown. The pandemic has fast forwarded online purchasing habits and has seen the death of some iconic brands. However the desire to support local communities has never been stronger and post Covid, the high street is ideally placed to reinvent itself. With our help and support our independent shops can be at the centre of this. So whether you chose to shop online or visit the high street, take a minute and visit an independent – shops and people that make our local communities great.