Retailers are having a pretty hard time just now and the world is especially precarious for the small-scale independent businesses that prop up a large proportion of the British economy. According to The British Independent Retailers Association, the UK lost 25% of independent shops after the last lockdown.
Experts are warning that if consumers want to avoid a sea of vacant premises next year they need to use those shops today. But, according to figures in The Independent* it seems that our local shopping commitments are beginning to wane.
How much can our shopping choices really influence the survival of not only our local high street but the surrounding streets we live in? Quite a lot, it would seem. For every £1 spent with such businesses, it typically means around 56p extra is spent in the local economy. And, if all the staff in a company live locally to their workplace, that same £1 spent at a local business could mean another £1.64 would subsequently be spent locally.
It's heartening to know we can all make a real positive difference, even through a lockdown, just by choosing to support small. Scroll down for more ideas on how to help, even without spending anything.
Shop Small Online
It might be easy to just go to one of the giant online retailers and get all your shopping there, but it doesn't do anything to help our villages and small towns stay alive. Flourishing shops are the lifeblood of any community but they will close without customers. If you have great local independents then of course shop with them. But even if you can't find them on your own doorstep, you can still shop with smaller retailers all over the country via their websites. You'll be supporting a community and jobs somewhere in the UK and that's a great thing in itself.
Click & Collect
Some small retailers might not have a website, and even if they do, Click & Collect is an easy and simple way to buy whatever you need from independent shops and get it fast. Browse online where you can or many shops will help you over the phone or even bring items to their door for you to buy right there.
So buying something is an obvious way to help, but what if you want to do more?
Spread the word
Encourage your friends and family to support small shops too. Tell people about your favourite independent stores, there are so many amazing ones out there. Of course, you can't see many people in person right now, but you can follow, like share and comment on small shops' social media posts. Every interaction means they'll get seen by others just that little bit more, and every little bit can make a big difference.
Write a Review
Reviews from happy customers not only help boost new customer numbers for small shops, they also boost the morale of the business. This year especially, small shop owners have had to work hard to adapt, to try anything and everything to keep their businesses alive. It's been a tough time and a positive review can be just the tonic to keep workers motivated.
However you choose to support small shops, know that it really does help. I believe this is moment in time when we can shape a new future where independent businesses of all kinds can really flourish. On behalf of all small business owners and their teams, I'd like to extend a truly heartfelt thank you for making those choices that matter more than ever right now.
Sophie & Simon x