With shops re-opening after lockdown, here are some great reasons to shop local from Muswell Business, the Muswell Hill Traders Association:
1. Local character and prosperity
Your community’s local character and prosperity thrive when you support its unique and diverse locally owned businesses.
2. Customer service and shopping experience
Although many online businesses do have good customer service, you can’t beat the personal touch of a local owner who knows everyone in the neighbourhood. They can offer you a product that is suitable for you, your house and even your area. Building relationships between the local owner and the local customer goes further than just a purchase. It is also worth remembering that local shops stock an inventory based on their own customer’s choices rather than national fashion trends. This is so you can find what you want rather than finding what they want to sell you.
It’s important to know that if anything was to go wrong you have a local company to go to, someone to talk face to face with. Online shops will often provide you with an email or phone number for their customer service team, which is often not in the UK, and make you wait for what seems like an eternity until you get to speak to someone. This simply is not the case with a local business. They will often prefer to meet up face to face, rather than on the phone, and find out exactly how they can help fix the problem.
3. Local decision-making
Local ownership means local decision making by people who live in the community and share in the effect of those decisions.
4. Local economic benefits
Keeping your money in your local economy supports local jobs, funds more local services through sales tax, and invests in neighbourhood improvement and development. To ensure a strong and sustainable local economy foundation people need to buy locally. Research shows that £10 spent with a local independent shop means up to an additional £50 goes back into the local economy. This is simply because the nearby shop owners, who you are spending your money with, will then put that money back into your local community by going into local pubs and restaurants etc, thus circulating the money and allowing your community to thrive.
5. Local jobs and wages
Shopping with and investing in local businesses means you can have a very strong and positive effect on the health of the local jobs in your area. Small, local businesses are surprisingly the largest employer of jobs nationally and provide the most local jobs to communities. Not only this, but local employers are more likely to pay a higher average wage than their commercial chain counterparts. Helping to grow the number of jobs in your area makes for a better place to live and work which then creates a healthy economy for the community.
6. Personality and character
The fantastic thing about independent businesses is that they are run by people, not by boards, stockholders or algorithms. As they are run by local people you will usually find that the business/shops building is in keeping with aesthetic of the area, adding character to the community and a touch of warm, welcoming personality.
Simply put, independent businesses are where innovation happens; it’s how things move forward and progress. Without the creativity and innovative nature of local businesses and entrepreneurs, industries wouldn’t advance at the rate that they are. Take for instance the coffee shop. Currently at the peak of popularity, chain coffee shops are actually following in the footsteps of independent coffee shops right now. They are doing what they can to blend more into the community and seem more authentic. This is happening all over Great Britain and is all thanks to the innovation of local businesses.
8. Environmental impact
This one might surprise you, but choosing a local company over a online shopping actually have a positive impact on the environment. Think of all plastic and packaging when you order something online.
The majority of local companies are found on the high street and are within walking distance, rather than a drive away to the nearest large shopping centre. If more people chose to pop to the local high street rather than driving to the superstores, this would considerably reduce air pollution, reduce traffic and improve the quality of the nation’s high streets.
9. Online isn’t always the best or cheapest
For many of us, we believe that the absolute best deals can only be found online. Through TV adverts, radio adverts and online adverts we are constantly shown great deals that seem too good to be true, and often this is sadly the case. However, you might be surprised to see just how competitive the prices are in your local shops and businesses.
Find out what your local area can offer you first, before checking online.
10. Help to create identity
Some local businesses will actually help shape the identity of the area. A high street filled with unique, vibrant and colourful shops will attract more tourism and help to make the community a more popular and financially healthier area in which to live and work.