Shop Local: Six Reasons Why You Should
It is widely known that shopping locally can benefit your local community. However, what many don’t know is how shopping local, as an individual or a business can help the overall economy of the United Kingdom.
According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), at the start of 2019 in the United Kingdom: ‘there were 5.82 million small businesses (with 0 to 49 employees)’. This was calculated into a percentage and small to medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) ‘accounted for 99.9% of the business population (5.9 million businesses)’. These statistics and more can be found here.
With these statistics in mind, it is clear that SME’s are the backbone of the United Kingdom’s economy. Whether it’s the local shop around the corner or the start-up company in an office park near you, it’s clear that these businesses are crucial to helping the local community, people and economy.
We have listed the reasons why you should shop local, below.
Better Customer Service
This one may seem obvious, but the customer service you’ll receive from a local shop or business will always be better than shopping at a chain, or a large company. The overall shopping experience will be better as they have to target their service to locals. Furthermore, if you have any problems with a product/service, you don’t have to deal with waiting in queues on the phone to speak to a person. It’s almost guaranteed that when dealing with a local shop or business, you’ll always be able to solve an issue quickly.
To Boost the Local Economy
Previously, we have mentioned how local shops and businesses are a massive factor in positively affecting the UK’s economy. However, thinking smaller, if you spend money in a local shop or business, more of your money will remain in that local area. This is due to small business owners reinvesting money back into the local community. This will hugely differ when spending the same amount of money at a chain than at a local shop or business.
The Ethical Choice
With the climate at the forefront of everybody’s mind, it is important to know how shopping local can make a massive difference. Any shop, big or small, can buy their raw materials from anywhere across the world, local or not. However, with a local shop, because they are smaller the distribution is so much less. For example, a chain such as Amazon has to ship their orders across the world in lorries or other transportation methods. With a local business, the produce either will not be delivered or delivered to the local areas. This means that the carbon footprint of a local shop or business is far less than a chain.
Originality and Individuality
Local shops and businesses cater their supply to a predominantly local demand. Consequentially, you are more likely to be able to buy more unique products, rather than the mainstream supply other shops and chains may have as they cater to a wider consumer base. If it is a service they offer, they also are catering to the needs of the local residents, and therefore will offer a more unique service.
To Create Local Jobs
The total employment in SMEs was 16.6 million in the UK in 2019, according to FSB. These jobs go to the local residents. Shopping in a local shop or business will mean that you are aiding that business’ expansion which gives opportunities to your surrounding neighbours. This also adds to your overall experience of shopping local as the friendly faces serving you are people who you know care about the local community.
Adding Colour to the High Street
If there is a demand for local businesses to thrive on the high street, that high street will soon look very different to the homogenised streets that we often see. Instead of empty shops and chains on the high street, the street could be filled with one-of-a-kind shops that have character. This could mean that your local area can become distinctive town with real economic value.
As previously mentioned, small and medium sized businesses make up so much of the business population, and the reasons stated above show exactly why they are so important. Whether you value supporting the UK’s economy, your local community, the local people or your own shopping experience, there is always a reason to shop local.