Wednesday, 01 June 2016 GMT
Author: Staveley Head
Online retailers have posed a threat to local businesses for many years now and one of the main reasons is price - it is far too easy to save a couple of pound online. However when taking a look at the bigger picture could shopping locally save you more than a pretty penny?
As providers of business insurance we know the challenges that face small independent businesses, but perhaps the issue is that people don’t fully understand the benefits of shopping with local, independent small businesses.
It’s not that spending with National or International brands has a negative impact on the economy but when both small businesses and national brands co-exist economies and communities are stronger. One such example can be found in this case study focusing on Wrexham.
There are many reasons why supporting local businesses is beneficial. Here is a roundup of the top five:
Boosting the local economy
Spending local will inevitably boost your local economy. In fact according to Independent Retailer Month “every £1 spent with a local, independent business, between 50p-70p circulates back into that local economy.” This is an attractive figure compared to the 5p that feeds back into the local economy when spending elsewhere.Other studies by American Express have also proven that towns with thriving independent businesses help to increase house prices. All of which has an effect on the local community.
Whether a market stall or retail outlet many independent businesses play a vital part in communities. Hosting events and supporting local charities are just some of the ways they bring people together. In many cases once the local businesses are gone so to are the strong relationships and community spirit.
Did you know that small and medium sized businesses employ 58% of the national private sector workforce? Therefore areas with independent businesses that are flourishing are likely to provide more jobs. And if that isn’t enough many of these employers have strong family, friendship and community values, so they want to invest in their employees leading to better wages and employee benefits.
Quality of Service
In many cases a local business owner will have one or maybe two sources of income so treating customers fairly is vitally important to their livelihood.
It’s not all about money, there are also the relationships. Workers get to know you on a more personal level which develops customer loyalty. This makes for excellent customer service with the customers best interests as the heart of the companies ethos.
Imagine entering your local grocery store and the shop assistant has your groceries ready for you along with some new products you might also like to try. OK we’re not living in the 1960’s but this is a true personalised service and one that can be easily achieved using local services.
Not limited by suppliers an independent company can source products from a number of providers. For consumers this means a unique high street with unusual items –so there is less chance of entering a party dressed in the same outfit as someone else.
There are more than just clothes and food shops, let’s look at book shops. An independent book shop may stock older or rare books and if you’re searching for a certain title the shop keeper is able to shop around and find what you’re looking for, at a price you’re comfortable with – all you have to do is ask!
As you can see there’s so much more to shopping than saving that odd couple of pound. By using your local, independent business you can help the whole community flourish and develop to make your home town a great place to live and maybe even work.