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2020 has been one hell of a year (quite literally “hell”). The global pandemic has undoubtedly changed our lives, and government restrictions have proven devastating towards independent businesses.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) regulations have meant that non-essential shops have closed, food services are limited, and that peoples’ movement should be reduced to prevent the virus spreading. With all these rules in place, it means that our £’s are not flowing through our local communities like they once were. There’s a growing fear that independent businesses won’t survive this second lockdown and that the landscape of our high streets will be changed forever.
Shopping independent benefits everyone, and we need to continue after these difficult times.
To keep our communities alive and vibrant, independent retailers need our support more than ever. We’re going to take a look at 8 different ways (as consumers) we can ensure the future of our favourite businesses.
1. Shop Online
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Online shopping is the perfect way to soothe your consumer needs whilst helping out your favourite independent retailers at the same time! Many small businesses are adopting a digital marketplace to sell and distribute their products – (precisely like the one Excellent Zephyr provides its clients with) – it’s super convenient and benefits everyone, so there’s no excuses!
Why not explore the wide variety of unique retailers from around the world? By using the power of social media and Google, it’s never been easier to discover new and exciting products.
2. Gift Cards
Many independent retailers are offering gift cards via their online stores, it’s a great way to provide them with immediate financial support, and it won’t cost you any more than normal! When the lockdown is over, you’ll be back at your everyday routine, exploring vintage boutiques, eating at your favourite sandwich shop and exchanging that recently bought gift card.
Also, don’t forget that with Christmas quickly approaching it’s also a brilliant stocking filler to give your friends, family and loved ones!
3. Think Local
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Our local high streets and vibrant communities are at risk of disappearing, but by shopping locally we can help keep them alive.
“For every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business 63p stayed in the local economy, compared to 40p with a larger business” – The Guardian
During the lockdown many local businesses are offering safe pick-up and drop-off services to reduce the threat of spreading the virus; give them a call or check out their online store to see what unique products they have available. The future of our communities truly is local!
4. Download Their App
The realm of online shopping expands far beyond that of a web store. Around 60% of all online sales are processed through a mobile device because it’s easy and more beneficial for the customer (that’s you!). More and more independent retailers are starting to publish mobile apps on the Apple and Play Store, and companies like Excellent Zephyr can help businesses achieve this goal.
A lot of retailers offer loyalty reward schemes for their dedicated mobile customers so that they can enjoy special discounts and privileges for when the physical stores are allowed to reopen. Don’t miss out, show your support, and download your favourite store’s mobile app!
5. Leave a Review
Leaving a Google review is one of the easiest and most effective ways to support independent retailers! By posting a positive review online it helps the business climb up the Google search results, improve their exposure and generate new clients – and it won’t cost you a penny!
Receiving recommendations from friends and family are a thing of past! Online reviews are one of the most popular ways that people discover new shops and restaurants in their local area.
“46% of Google searches are for local businesses”
6. Promote on Social Media
The power of social media is undeniable, and it’s available to everyone at the click of a button! For most of us, sharing content online is second nature, so why not share your favourite independent retailer’s Facebook post, Insta story or website? It costs you absolutely nothing and expands their client base.
7. Reach Out
More than ever, there’s a growing sense of community that resonates throughout the country. During these challenging times, not everybody has spare money; however, offering a word of support and encouragement can go a long way to boost the morale of struggling independent retailers! Drop them an email, social media message or even a phone call to show your appreciation!
“We are stronger together than we are alone” – Walter Payton
8. Order Delivery
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Who doesn’t love a good ol’ fashioned Saturday night takeaway? While you might not be able to enjoy the experience of eating out, you could stick on a movie and chow down to some delicious food from your favourite restaurant.
Unfortunately, for the majority of restaurants and food services, delivery is their only source of income. Make sure you give them a call directly or order through a popular delivery platform such as Deliveroo or UberEats.