Now here’s an interesting question – what does it really mean to shop locally and what is ‘shopping locally’? While we’re here, let’s get to the crux of it – can we really help to revive our local economies by supporting local businesses?
If you asked one of the 33,000 businesses in Worcestershire why it’s so important to shop locally, you’d think their answer would be pretty obvious! Give or take, there are around 600,000 people living in Worcestershire and if every single one of those people did at least a proportion of their shopping locally, it would make an enormous difference to our local economy but also to actual, real-life people! According to Visa – almost half of small businesses say that if we all spent just £5 extra per week with a local, independent business, it would help them to survive in the long term.
So, ask yourself honestly, how much do you support an independent business in your county regularly?
The team at Love Where You Live surveyed 100 people and found that a whopping 97% of them said that shopping locally was either important to them or very important to them but, and it’s a big but, 73% of those people said that they struggled to find a good choice of local supplier online and as a result 46% said that it put them off shopping locally at all!
Since the pandemic hit, it’s been harder than ever to pop to a local shop so millions of us have turned to online shopping and initially, over the first lockdown, sales for independent retailers boomed as everyone wanted to support their local business to ensure that business stayed in their community but gradually, according to the experts, our loyalty is fading. Ben Voyer, a behavioural scientist, told the Independent recently that:
“When people are confronted with an extreme context they are not only more short-term focused but the things around them matter more.”
And that ‘short-term focus’ is the key here – as soon as the first lockdown ended, the percentage of people continuing to shop locally also started to decline.
So let’s get back to our original questions – what is shopping locally? Is it popping to the shop next door? Is it using your local high street? Or is it simply purchasing as much as you can from the county you live in? In our opinion…it’s all three – it’s about supporting our local economy as a whole and in part why we set up Love Where You Live in the first place. We wanted to make it easier than ever to buy local products and produce online. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t physically support our local retailers – it’s an added layer of support, intended to help our local independent vendors to reach a larger audience of local customers.
And now to the big question…can we really help to boost our local economies by shopping locally more? YES, YES, YES – absolutely!! We can all play a massive part here. Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce estimate that for every £1 spent locally, a whopping £1.67 goes back into our local economy.
One thing that we’ve discovered on our Love Where You Live journey so far is that we have an incredible abundance of fantastic local products and produce right here on our doorstep. We don’t need to turn to Amazon to buy wellies, we don’t need to buy letterbox brownies from bakeries that send them all the way from London…we’re almost certain that nearly anything you want to buy can be found in Worcestershire – but that is part of the problem, you have to be able to find the product (quickly and easily) in the first place and this is the problem that Love Where You Live is determined to solve – we want to help you find everything you need…right here in our county and help boost our local economy one pound at a time.