Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The importance of shopping locally

How shopaholics like me can support our local economies....

MadeCloser - the convenient option to do the right thing

It’s no secret that the internet has made shopping far more convenient and accessible for everyone, including the self-confessed shopaholics among us. However, it is also no secret that the rise in online shopping has contributed some what to the fall of the highstreet. Traditionally, shoppers would utilise their local traders; turning to the butcher, the backer, fishmonger, greengrocers, local music store and small independent retailers. Now, this isn’t quite the case – instead we are able to find whatever we want, whenever we want in the click of a button (or a few) and have access to a massive range of goods to suit any of our needs. Supermarkets now stock almost anything you could possibly need to buy under one roof, and we have thousands upon thousands of goods available at the click of a button online.
The traditional high streets and town centres will never quite regain the level of local physical footfall that it once did whilst online shopping is in the picture. After all, it is far more convenient for busy, working people to order a product online and have it delivered directly to your front door – fighting the online shopping market would result in regression rather than progression. So I’m not suggesting for a second that online shopping should decrease in order to support the local economy – but what if we simply made a few changes and used sites like made closer to still buy goods online, but from local traders – therefore benefitting our owl local communities and local economy.

The effect these concepts have had on the local economy is so easy to see, my town like any other is now dotted with charity shops, a few coffee chains and banks. The rest is littered with ‘To let’ signs, ‘Store closing’ and empty shop windows. Whilst the supermarkets are busy taking over the world stocking everything at lower prices, it can seem attractive to grab a bargain and for the sake of convenience purchase your meat, milk, bread and even clothes in the same please.  Of course, in an ideal world we need to support both the high street retailers and the local manufacturers, which is where sites such as ‘Made Closer’ come in. Made closer is designed for the manufacturer to build their own independent retail network, that means that the customer can access a range of business on one site and have access to purchasing locally and ethically produced goods from the comfort of their own home. Made Closer connects the customer (us) directly to the retailer – who is either a manufacturer or an independent retailer, simplifiying the supply chain (ethically!)

There are SO many benefits of shopping locally – not only for us, but for the local businesses too! Imagine if 1 million people changed their shopping habits and turned to sites like Made Closer for some of their consumer products. Say they spent £300 per year, purchasing gifts or products for themselves from local traders and manufacturers instead of adding it to their basket when they are at the supermarket or using a massive online retailer. That’s £300 million that would be pumped into national and local manufacturers and businesses. 

So what are the benefits of doing this?
  • Made closer would make 10% of this figure. Doesn’t sound like a good thing, but that’s £30million (£15million once you take out overheads), two thirds of which (£10million) would go to charity – local charities that can improve our local communities and economies.  What’s more, half of the charity donations are chosen by us, the consumers meaning we really can have an impact on our local communities!  
  • It creates employment directly in the area where goods and services are being supplied, and strengthens the economy in that area too. 
  • It doesn't cost the customer more; in fact prices and shipping are more competitive. 
  • You can choose to see products closest to your postcode, meaning you really can support LOCAL traders.

So take a look at MadeCloser. You can access ethically produced products, local businesses and manufacturers. With products ranging from health and beauty, clothes and shoes, jewellery and gifts, toys and games and even electricals! I'm already eyeing up some products from 'Pure Nuff Stuff ltd'; which sells handmade bath and body products 
like this coconut oil which is an amazing multi-use beauty products!  It doesn't cost you more, you get to see exactly where the goods are made and supplied from, you are supporting a more sustainable distribution system, and two thirds of their entire net profits go to charitable and social projects that fit within our wide giving criteria, all designed to use consumerism to set us free of dependency! It’s a win-win situation! 

*post written in conjunction with MadeCloser. Views and opinions my own. 

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