Today we launched our new website – a national and natural extension to ShopAppy.com called ShopLocalOnline.org. The idea is that as well as businesses being able to showcase what they do and enabling people in their own local areas to browse, book and buy local in person or online, shops that sell products for postage will also have their products appear nationally (with no extra effort) to attract the growing number of customers we see wanting to support small shops and real places rather than online giants and fulfilment warehouses. It is a growing demand across the UK that we have been seeing since last Christmas and that is well-covered in this article in The Guardian and Observer today
The new national shop local online website is also our response to Black Friday - now more of a month of sales than a day or weekend a year - and it has really become the Grinch that stole Christmas from smaller retailers. This new ‘tradition’ benefits giants most, promotes often fake deals, leads to buyer remorse and also contributes to our worsening environmental issues (see link here ) . So, we prefer Green Friday which means shopping local that day and indeed everyday if you can, in person or online.
When people support small businesses, more of their spend stays in that local community (between 38p to 63p in every pound depending on what research you look at). Local businesses are also more likely to use local suppliers, so your purchases are more gentle on the planet. None of our businesses are charged commission for sales and our focus remains to drive footfall back into high streets, but we recognise that customers sometimes want more choice than that. So here is that choice - everything locally, nationally.
This platform is going live at a time when small high street retailers are being squeezed by the removal of all Government support, increasing inflation and costs due to supply chain issues. The launch also coincides with a report from the Office for National Statistics showing that, of all businesses not permanently stopped trading, 6% reported in mid-November they have low or no confidence they will survive the next 3 months, compared to 4% reported in early October 2021.
This is not a satisfactory situation, when we know that in particular during lockdown, communities relied on local shops being available. If our high streets don't survive, more people become dependent on car journeys which is bad for the planet as well as our mental health and wellbeing. This year, it is ‘use them or lose them’ time. We urge people to shop local more than ever – most Brits say they would rather spend more than half of their money locally – so now it’s easier than ever to do that.
We are encouraging all local retailers (market traders, pop-ups, shops, maker spaces, museum and gallery shops) to sign up and we will charge nothing — no set-up fees and no commission so they can make the most of what should be a peak trading time. Sign up at this new ‘everything locally, nationally’ site here and join us in providing a real local alternative to the multinational giants currently dominating shopping experiences. Great things are ON our high streets, shopping is more than just getting things and we want to keep it that way.
If you agree with what we are saying – sign up as a customer and let us keep you updated and connected to incredible independent businesses providing wonderful and unique products and services.
This Christmas, it’s more important than ever to avoid being sucked into the Black Friday hype. We all need to shop local to avoid putting the future of the UK high street at risk. Every time you purchase anything through ShopLocalOnline.org or on ShopAppy.com or in person in your own high street or city or town centre, you are supporting an independent retailer and a local community rather than blasting another billionaire into space.