Making the choice between buying locally or with bigger brands elsewhere and online is more critical today than ever before. Many consumers slip out of the habit of shopping locally. With hectic work-life balances, convenience often trumps speciality and customer service for shoppers.
However, the COVID-19 lockdown has been a major wake-up call for many people. Local businesses are the beating heart of our villages, towns and suburban communities. Many of whom have been working around the clock to provide new ways of serving their valued customers in the post-lockdown climate.
As the nation inches its way towards a ‘new normal’, consumers will have to make smarter decisions about where and who they shop with in the months ahead. Buying locally will become essential for local communities to continue to thrive and support one another on the other side of this pandemic.
We’ve put together seven ethical and economical reasons why more of us should choose local suppliers and producers over large conglomerates and online brands.
1. Breathe new life into the local economy
Research suggests that for every £10 spent at the tills of a local independent store it provides a further £50 for the local economy. The more revenue local shop owners receive, the more they put back into the local community in the form of employee wages and spending their profits on other local businesses, sharing the wealth and underpinning a sustainable local economy.
2. It maintains a strong jobs market for local communities
Having busy, thriving stores in local towns and villages fosters local employment and self-employment. In turn, local employees spend their hard-earned income back in the local economy too in a self-perpetuating cycle. Buying locally creates a market for jobs, giving the next generation career avenues to pursue.
3. Enjoy a personalised, tailored shopping experience
One of the main differentiators between buying locally and online is the fact that you are buying from local entrepreneurs and personalities, not faceless conglomerates or online services underpinned by algorithms. Buying locally provides that personal touch, with local businesses passionate about going the extra mile to help you find what you need rather than what a larger business wants to sell to you.
4. It supports entrepreneurs offering originality to retail
Local businesses tend to offer a credible alternative to high-street chain stores. Independent stores offer engagement and originality that can provide a breath of fresh air. Whether it’s alternative products or a unique store layout, shopping locally can keep our retail experiences wholesome and interesting.
5. Because innovation and creativity happen locally
Local, independent businesses are the proving ground for innovation and creativity. It’s the passion and drive of local entrepreneurs to break boundaries that inspires larger firms to innovate and retain their authenticity. Local businesses are incentivised to innovate through the research and development (R&D) tax relief scheme, providing tax credits for all R&D costs that can be offset against annual profits.
6. Keep local produce alive
Buying locally empowers independent specialists to keep producing authentic, traditional local products. Local firms tend to be more agile and receptive to the needs of their customers, producing and sourcing products and goods that meet the changing demands of their communities.
7. It limits your carbon footprint
Last but by no means least, shopping locally is kinder to the wider environment too. First and foremost, local stores will often stock a greater percentage of goods sourced and produced locally, reducing the miles from producer to consumer. Furthermore, using local stores that you can walk or cycle to limits your own carbon footprint.
Buying locally is a lifestyle choice. A chance to seek better value, customer care and give something back to our local communities in their time of need.
Date published 13 May 2020 | Last updated 13 May 2020