Shop with small businesses not billionaires
When budgets are tight we all tend to shop around. Around 40% of us are shopping around more than ever thanks to the cost of living crisis. It is having an impact on our high streets. More local businesses than ever are suffering, especially those selling non-food items and many have more debt since Covid to manage. The Federation of Small Business (FSB) reported the last quarter of 2022 showing 89% of companies reporting higher costs “Cost increases are now affecting everything from the price of petrol to cooking oil to timber to orange juice to laundry detergent, and much more besides.”
For family-owned businesses, many of the small shops and cafes on our high streets, this is a crisis. They need you. It’s time to remember what a life saver many of these businesses proved to be during lockdown, and how much these businesses do in our communities, from sponsoring the local raffle to providing spaces for us to meet each other and connect with our neighbours and friends.
These are challenging times for us all, but if we want to see better times, what we do now, will make the difference in whether our communities and these family businesses can survive this. One of the reasons that small shops may lose out because we believe they are more expensive or because products sometimes do cost a little more from a small business in town, rather than an out-of-town chain. Reality is that if you want your spend to count, where you spend it matters more than ever. And shopping small is better for people, planet and place.
The myth that local shops are more expensive than chains
We have all heard it,” I would shop local, but local shops are more expensive”. However, many times we hear it, you can guarantee that the person saying it, has never done a price comparison. Many of us believe online is cheaper than offline purchases, but it is often not the case. And of course if you buy in a physical store, you don’t have to wait for deliveries but get it there and then… and buying in a shop runs far less risk of fraud or being held in a call centre queue to discuss the location of your item or how faulty it is. We mistake convenience for better value and sometimes forget that the cost of buying from distant warehouses is often the loss of convenience of having shops nearby.
In larger stores we find ourselves tempted by the Buy one, get one free offers (BOGOF) too. It’s a good idea to check the cost per item. The mark-ups are often to give you a perception of value, when in fact the cost of just buying one would be cheaper in a local shop. BOGOF deals can be misleading because by using the word FREE, a customer perceives one item as being a free item, when in fact what is happening is that both items are being offered at half price. Sometimes the deal is actually not real too – the price for one item is inflated so that the reduction is even less. You find less gimmicks being used in small shops, and many right now are not pushing the price hikes they are facing to customers, which of course is hurting their own profit margins to help them run their businesses. Over the last 2-3 years there have been an increase in eco-shops, where you pay for what you need… the polar opposite of the BOGOF deal that encourages us all to buy more than we need, with the risk of creating more waste too.
So don’t buy into the myths that local shops are always more expensive, shops, market traders and cafes can be better value in all kinds of ways than the chains and the giants.
Why some shops are sometimes a little more expensive
Sometimes products in local shops are more expensive. If the gap is significant then a customer can always ask why and sometimes businesses do negotiate. However small shops in town centres and in fact retail in town centres bear far higher costs than out of town warehouses and pure online retailers. They often pay rates – in fact they pay 755% more rates than online retailers. If you think that is unfair – please write to your local MP https://savelocalshops.eaction.online/saveourhighstreet
Going out of town costs more
With fuel costs rising, as well as the stresses and strains of modern life – the last thing you need to do is get uppity while negotiating your car into a car parking space at a retail park. When 10 million of us live less than 200 metres from a high street, a walk down the high street could save us time, ‘uppitiness’ and money on fuel. If you are a regular buyer of items that are not available in your local shops, suggest to one of them that they could stock it. Unlike the chains, the manager won’t have to call a distant boardroom and hope for a decision in a month or two, the business owner, might be able to get you sorted. If we want to live near nice town centres and high streets, then leaving them to go shopping is really the last thing we should do. So save time, save fuel costs and save the planet – plus you will feel happier too.
Small businesses need rocket fuel not billionaires
With inflation rising, everyone is getting hit, and every budget is squeezed. That means where we spend what little we have is even more important. A good way to think about local spending is that you are investing in your community too. It’s a win-win, making sure that the more of your spend goes to create local jobs and opportunities. It helps us feel safer and gives us and our neighbours more opportunities too – ensuring we have more variety on our high street. When you buy from a distant billionaire, your spend makes little difference to them and even less difference to where you live. So our advice, we all have less to spend, so let’s make our spend count. Shop Local.
To discover your local shops more easily than ever visit shopappy.com and if you want to shop with local businesses rather than billionaires across the UK visit shoplocalonline.org