Tips on how to shop local.
by Tom Collins
Entering a second lockdown in Wales has meant a lot of heartache for small businesses, especially on the run up to what is usually the busiest period of the year. So now more than ever we need to support our amazing independent shops, the creative makers, our bustling market places, and our favourite eateries. It’s been devastating to see some of our clients, friends and favourite businesses express their concerns on social media over the past few weeks.
By June more independent retailers went into administration than in the whole of 2019, with independent experts predicting on average 56 shop closures a day before 2021. Source: Retail Research
However, 3 in 5 shoppers have made more use of the local shops and are more likely to shop locally once the lockdown is lifted compared to before the pandemic, which is one encouraging sign that people are more aware of the shops that are available on their doorstep. Source: Retail Gazette
Local independent shops are the backbone of our thriving communities and as communities we see the benefits when our local independents are doing well. To get there It’s up to us to make sure we support small business in these tough times, so here’s a few ways we can all help.
Think before you shop
Before buying anything from a larger retailer, check your locals to see if they have the same or better product. The temptation to check Amazon first might be huge but think how you’re alternative purchase could help your local hardware store or bookshop, a purchase that could make their day. If you’re buying online and able to, be sure to buy multiple items from your local sellers to offset the delivery costs. If you can afford it, purchase a gift card. It will benefit retailers in the short term and yourself in the long term.
Break the mould, make Monday the new Friday or October the new December. If you can visit hospitality during off-peak hours. Encourage your local vendors to innovate and embrace delivery and ecommerce if they haven’t already. They will only consider it if the market is out there!
If your local retailers are offering subscription services, take advantage of that. You’ll be getting a regular treat without the need to activate a purchase and they’ll know there’s some regular payment coming in. There are loads of new innovative ways in which local businesses are trying to intice more custom during this difficult time, from DIY kits to online classes. During lockdown we can use this time to engage with our local businesses without being there.
It’s not just about making a purchase
Supporting our local, independent retailers doesn’t just mean buying from them. There are many ways you can help right now without spending time or money…
Get social on socials
Liking and saving posts are a huge boost, but commenting and sharing pushes brands into more people’s feed than you might realise. Social media has slowly been turning into it’s own shopping hub which is great for small businesses in the lead up to Christmas.
Review and recommend
If you’ve bought from a local retailer, leave them a review on Google or TripAdvisor, helping them climb the SEO ranks so more people can find them. Recommend them to a friend to help spread the word further and for more people to embrace shopping locally.
Support local and help communities thrive
Small independent business are what make our towns unique and every pound you spend in a local shop makes a big difference. If every adult in the UK spent just £5 per week in their local independent shops instead of at a multinational company it would be worth £13.5 Billion going directly to our towns. Which means real jobs, better facilities, happier, thriving communities. Source: Totally Locally