How and why you should support local retailers in 2020

With small retailers and local business employing over 60% of people in the UK, now more than ever we as a community need to support local communities and businesses.

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Mark Allen
9 min read

With so many large retailers like Amazon, eBay, ASOS available from the comfort of your home, it’s no wonder the high street is quieter than ever with small independent retailers struggling. That paired with the recent economic problems that COVID-19 has created, now more than ever local retailers are in need of your help to continue to serve the community.

That's why we’ve put together this article, taking a look at 8 reasons why you should support local retailers (and businesses,) and 6 easy ways in which you can easily support them.

Oscar & Joy

8 reasons why you should support local retailers (and businesses)

With small to medium-sized organisations making up the largest number of businesses in the UK (5.9million) and the retail sector being the largest employer, providing the highest turnover, it's clear that now more than ever we should be supporting local, independent retailers. In the following section, we look at 8 reasons why you should spend more with local independent retailers and do what you can to support them.

Wholesale and Retail Trade is the sector which has the highest share of both SME employment and turnover. SMEs accounted for 60% of employment and 52% of turnover in the UK at the start of 2019.

It boosts the local economy

When spending with local retailers, the money stays in the local community, which means other businesses and people in the area benefit. If you spend online with large retailers, or buy from large corporations, the money tends to go elsewhere and it isn’t reinvested into the local economy. According to research by the CLES (Centre for Local Economic Strategies) for every £1 spent in local businesses 63p is invested back into the local economy, where only 5p is reinvested when shopping out of town or online.

Remember the main reason for spending local is community and helping empowering others to give back.

Unique & Original Products

Independent retailers often make their own unique products, or stock products from other independent creators. If you want to have your own unique sense of style, or you want to get a unique gift for someone, then shopping local is the way to go. This will give you more choice and variety than you might normally get in large retail chains.

Better deals

Local businesses are created by people with passion, a passion for entrepreneurship, a passion for growth, a passion for local communities. They care about the people in the area and aren’t always focused on numbers like you’ll find with large corporates who have to report to a board of directors, or shareholders.

You’ll find most local retailers are just as competitive as large retail chains, plus, you can normally haggle on price with independents, which is not something you can do online or in a chain store. Check locally before you go online when sourcing products.

Create local jobs

SMEs accounted for 60% of employment and 52% of turnover in the UK at the start of 2019. By supporting local businesses you are also supporting the local community. Small and independent businesses also tend to pay more on average than their larger counterparts. More jobs in the local area also attracts more investment to the area as people have more disposable income, this can mean more stores, restaurants, parks etc.

Personalised experiences & customer service

With local retailers you can get a personalised shopping experience. Owners here tend to learn more about their customers and help when they can. They are also able to offer advice on what to buy, or even order in unique sizes, colors, or options just for you. It’s very unlikely you will walk into a big retail store and have someone know you by name.

Loyalty & Rewards

Large retail chains aren’t the only companies able to offer loyalty & rewards points when shopping with them. With the emergence of loyalty schemes with point of sales systems, local retailers are now able to offer loyalty points and rewards for shopping with them. AirPOS Pro offers small retailers the chance to have customer accounts and loyalty programmes, giving them a chance to give back.

It keeps markets competitive

Local retailers add more competition to large multinational retailers. Supporting local retailers and keeping them in business means more competitive pricing, better quality goods, and better shopping experiences. Without this competition, bigger businesses become complacent, services suffer and prices increase.

Encourages entrepreneurship

By shopping locally you are encouraging entrepreneurship. When others see the success of smaller retailers, it inspires others to try to do the same. With advancements in technology it’s becoming easier to start and manage a business. Systems like AirPOS offer a great way for small retailers to get up and selling in no time, track sales, stock, offer loyalty and much more.

Comic Book Guys, Belfast

6 easy ways to support local retailers

During the current crisis it is now more important than ever to come together and support local retailers (and businesses.) We’ve discussed how important local retailers (and businesses) are for your local economy and why you should support them, so here are 6 easy ways in which you can give back to local retailers (and businesses) to help them survive this unprecedented situation.

Buy goods from local retailers online and offline

Right now going down to your local retailer is probably not possible, however this does not mean that you can not support them. At this time we would recommend buying online and having items delivered to your home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This way you can protect yourselves and others whilst still giving your business to your favourite retailers.

When buying food products, try to go down to your local grocers for essential items, you might find some of the items that you couldn’t find at larger supermarkets, and you will be supporting your local community too.

Buy gift cards for friends and family

Buy a gift card for yourself, or for family and friends. This is a great way of helping businesses survive in the short term, giving them essential cashflow to remain open and continue to pay employees during tough times. You might not be able to use them for a little time, but it can go a long way to keeping some businesses open.

Share/support their business on social media

Do you have some favourite local businesses that you’ve enjoyed using, some local retailer that you’ve found some awesome gifts or products at? Go give their Facebook, Instagram and other social accounts a follow and share with your friends and family, this will help grow their exposure. Encourage them to also buy gift cards and things online too, so they can also help in the effort to support local businesses.

Are you a small local retailer or business? Share other local businesses and make sure to support others in these times too, it really does go a long way. At such a tumultuous time it is important that we pull together as communities and try to boost those around us. Rather than try to get ahead of the competition we should be providing help and guidance where we can. If you are  a small business in need of support search social pages such as facebook and LikedIn and join groups or communities to seek advice and guidance.

Give them a review online

Another free tool that can help when limiting social contact, give your local favourite stores a review online, that could be on Facebook (or other social media platforms), trustpilot, or other review sites. This is really useful for those businesses who are still able to sell their goods and services online as it helps build trust with others.

Order food and drinks online

With many establishments closing their doors for the public, a lot of small bars and restaurants have turned to offering sales online, this may be via their own website, or using Uber Eats or Deliveroo. If you can afford to, treat the family, or have a date night with your partner and order in from one of your favourite restaurants or local cafes. Make sure to pay online and use contactless delivery when possible.

Start a Hobby, read and more

Why not try taking up a hobby, or start reading some new books. You can order things like puzzles and books online from most independent bookstores and retailers. Other activities include:

  • Home brewing beer
  • Indoor Gardening
  • Cooking
  • Colouring books (order from your independent book stores or charity shops)
  • Take online courses
  • Take online gym/yoga classes (from your local gyms)
Hand Crafted Gallery

Our Customers & Local Businesses

Giving back doesn’t have to cost a whole lot of money or anything at all. If you can afford to support local businesses financially do, if not, try to help buy raising awareness for others.

In the spirit of this article we have decided to share some of our customers (and other local businesses) with you, we highly recommend you check them out, give them a like, or share on Facebook/Instagram and if you can buy something from them online, or purchase a gift card for a friend (or yourself) if you can afford to do so.

We are Vertigo - offering a variety of experiences for kids of all ages (adults included) from indoor skydiving, skiing, inflatable parks and more. They are currently closed with COVID-19 but have done a huge amount of work trying to give back to the community with care packages. If you can, buy some vouchers to use in the future when it re-opens.

Pure Running - Northern Ireland’s premier running retailer. Pure running does all things running. Check them out on Facebook and give them a like and a share. They are also opening an online store soon, so if you can keep checking in and if you’re serious about running, purchase some running gear too.

Clip and Climb - Another fun day out for the kids and Clip and Climb. They offer climbing walls and activities for all ages. Again why not buy some vouchers now for use in the future.

Scout Shops - Interested in the great outdoors, or want to get your kids involved in the scouts? This is your one stop shop for all things scouts.

Shortcross Gin & Whiskey - Another independent retailer from Northern Ireland making Gin and Irish whiskey. They’ve also turned to making hand sanitizer to help those in need during COVID-19. Check them out their online store for alcoholic delights.

Comic Book Guys - another independent retailer here in Belfast, comic book guys offer all the latest and greatest comics, action figures and much more. They offer a mail order service for any of you that want to get your hands on some awesome comics.

Oh Yeah Music Centre - Oh Yeah is a charity and social enterprise that is focused on giving back to the community. They offer affordable rehearsal spaces, live music, a cafe, a recording studio and much more.

Roar and Explore - Another great venue for kids, roar and explore offer a fun-filled soft play area for kids as well as a cafe. They are a social enterprise and reinvest their profits back into the community, investing over £500,000 since they began. We suggest giving them a call (or reach on on Facebook) to find out how you can help, if you have kids buying vouchers for future parties or events would be a great way to support them and give back.

Oscar & Joy - Oscar and Joy is a design store showcasing Scandinavian and British homeware and specialising in 3rd wave coffee products from Italy and Japan. Give their Facebook page and social media accounts a like and a share, they have some really awesome products and offer amazing customer service.

The Handcrafted Gallery - The Handcrafted Gallery is a unique retail concept store based in Newtownards, County Down. Funded by Ards Business Hub, 55 local makers have a retail platform stocking local Irish and UK based handcrafted products.

The Nutmeg- If in need of Vegetarian/Vegan groceries or specialist health products then locals need look no further than The Nutmeg. This health store offers a huge variety of goods in their recently renovated city centre shop, which will satisfy the needs of any diet. As with many grocery stores The Nutmeg has had to close due to COVID 19 however they are providing a delivery service so that those who need such items, that cannot be purchased at even a major supermarket will not go without for as long as this isolation period lasts.

There you have it, 8 reasons to support local retailers and 6 reasons how to do it. If you liked this post, give it a share and encourage others to support local businesses.