Why buy into the #shoplocal movement?
There is a movement spreading, 'Shop Local' is emblazoned on chalkboards across the high street and the #ShopLocal tag has been used 27.4 million times on Instagram alone, The Small Business Saturday buzz is sweeping across the UK and USA as a movement to be a part of and I am seeing more and more of the 'Come in, we are local' signs hanging on traders' doors than ever before.
One of my favourite chalkboards (despite the gender stereotypes at play…) that I have seen on sidewalks, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram is 'When you buy from a small business, you are not helping a CEO buy a holiday home, you are helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy his team jersey and help mum & dad put food on the table. SHOP LOCAL' . Whilst I am not one for motivational quotes, this is one I can get behind. By creating a collective mentality amongst consumers that local matters, we can galvanise the small business to take on the mega-chains and e-commerce behemoths.
It is undoubtedly easier and more convenient to jump on your smart phone or computer and compare prices but at Splitcha we believe that small businesses are the backbone of a community, an underlying engine for those communities and must be supported. To ensure a strong and sustainable local economy foundation people need to buy locally.
Independent retailers are creating local history, they are paying their taxes locally, serving their local communities and often sourcing and producing locally too. The ripple effect of supporting small business cannot be ignored and if it is, these small independent businesses will simply disappear.
Clare Rayner of Retail Champion says: "Christmas sales can account for between a third and nearly two-thirds of a retailer's annual turnover. A bad Christmas can mark disaster for a small business. Sadly, it really is a case of 'use it or lose it'.''
There is certainly a shift underway in consumer consciousness. According to the American Express OPEN Small Business Saturday Consumer Pulse Study, 93 percent of Americans believe it’s important to support the small businesses they value in their community. Nearly three-quarters – 73 percent – of Americans consciously shop at small businesses in their communities because they don’t want them to 'go away'. Here are my top 5 reasons to shop locally :
Boost local economies.
When you purchase from a locally owned business rather than a chain, more money is kept in the local community because locally owned businesses often purchase from other local businesses and service providers and then spend their profits within other local businesses too. According to The Guardian for every £1 spent with a small business 63p stayed in the local economy, compared to only 40p spent with a large business. High streets populated with thriving independent businesses boost the prices of nearby homes, according to a recent study. The research by American Express found that house prices near a prosperous town centre have risen by an average of £40,000 more over the past decade than other properties.
Environmental impact Is reduced.
On an international level, flying your Christmas gift to grandma in Australia via air freight, wrapped in layers of plastic, is boosting carbon emissions and is adding to the plastic crisis. On a local level, local business usually set up shop in the town/village centre that is much friendlier to a community than large shopping malls as they are easy to walk to. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.
It’s a more ethical choice.
'Going local means nurturing locally owned businesses which use local resources sustainably, employ local workers at decent wages and serve primarily local consumers. It means becoming more self-sufficient and less dependant on imports. Control moves from the boardrooms of distant corporations and back into the community where it belongs.' – Michael H. Shuman, author of the book 'Going Local'.
You might get a better deal or some 'hyper local' advice.
Independent retailers thrive on building relationships, be it by giving regular customers a discount or by recommending products to them. For example, if you wanted to send some maple syrup to a friend in Canada for their Thanksgiving holiday the local retailer could recommend a local artisan brand over a large established brand, which will be much more in tune with your friends values and you may also be introducing that retailer to a new customer in your friend. It’s a win win.
Originality, character, personality and interest!
Independent shops are just that, independent! In a world that is becoming increasingly dominated by chain stores which have been designed to look the same, independent businesses bring much-needed originality and variety into communities. They can be a real breath of fresh air with unique products and a personal service. This natural authenticity will always be, hands down, more popular than a chain store or ecommerce site.
Shopping local is for life, not just for Christmas – use them or loose them, our local traders are vital to preserving community character.