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9 Jun 2022

The Rise and Shine of Shop Local

At Expression Insurance we champion independents and the local high street, read on to find out how as a local independent business you can capitalise on the growing trend to Shop Local

Even before the pandemic the green shoots of change in consumer shopping behaviors were being witnessed. As we have emerged from COVID these habits have continued to blossom, taking root and expanding with more shoppers supporting their local high street and small businesses.

Since lockdown #1, visiting our neighborhood’s shopkeepers not only provided us with our morning hit of caffeine or a locally sourced lunchtime feast, but gave the ability to make the days seem that much brighter. These social hubs provided the warm fuzzy feeling we hankered after from supporting our community and enjoying the ‘the shop local experience’.

Consumers are falling out of love with their generic supermarket bags for life and in love with the new “must have item” of the ethical packaging or shopping bag from your local deli, baker, or boutique. This indie bag is one designer branded piece you won’t regret investing in!

This rise of Shop Local looks to continue to shine with the growing support for independents. The first class customer service, locally sourced products and community spirit all contributing to this success.

Recent research by ThoughtWorks found only half of Britons (49%) expect to buy their food from supermarkets or major retailers in the future. Just 32% of under-25-year-olds believe the future of food shopping will take place in a traditional supermarket, down from 58% in 2018.

How to benefit from “Shop Local”

Shop Local benefits not only consumers but forms the strong foundations for local economy and community relationships. Knowing where and how items are sourced and meeting the face behind the product provides confidence in the quality of our nation’s high streets.

Encouraging consumers to shop local increases footfall on the high street resulting in not only income being retained into the local area but increased sales for your business.

Being part of your local retail community

As an indie business owner, a clear focus on the future and success of the high street is vital and can be achieved with a strategic marketing plan focused on the local retail community. Try the following:

Create promotions and events - whether a summer sale, a join in with a seasonal or topical event (Jubilee) or the launch of a new product/menu, these events will be a welcome return to the new normal and your chance to get ready and deliver the perfect experience for your customers and encourage spending.

Hold in store events - who doesn’t love a fashion show, wine tasting, or book signing and if you have people coming through your door and the till is ringing you will be a happy and successful business owner.

Collaborative planning – Teaming up with other local independent businesses to include combined offers such as lunch at your café/restaurant, drinks at the neighboring bar or discount voucher for clothing store/book shop/DIY is a great way to not only gain exposure to wider customer audience but also feel part of the independent community. Increasing both brand awareness and the Shop Local experience to new and existing shoppers will have a positive effect and an increase in revenue.

Community & local events – Looking at dates of local festivals and street fairs and at ways your business can get involved will enable you to tap into the carnival atmosphere and the festival pound.

Champion local produce

Customers who shop local, love regionally sourced items and products, combining that with a story is a sure-fire way of success.

Filling your shelves with uniquely crafted stock or stocking your kitchen with produce supplied or cooked by local residents, encourages customers into your shop, café or restaurant. These newfound friendships will help spread the word, creating a wider community of champions and repeat business.

I have never heard of that, People love having or being introduced to something new or different, be it a beautifully designed dress or a dining experience. Championing locally grown seasonal food or traditional locally baked goods promotes the Shop Localexperience and encourages customers to fill their larder or home with unique finds.

These locally made items or regional recipes, some of which are passed down from generation to generation, provide that narrative to the story consumers are searching for.

Be green

Sustainability is a “hot topic” not just for high street indies but also their customers. The growing army of shop local advocates are looking to buy seasonal, locally sourced, sustainable produce, limiting their purchases to quantities needed rather than bulk buying. With this goal in the forefront of their psyche they are also more likely to travel a shorter distance or even walk due if living locally.

Taking your consumers environmental ethics and turning their principles into reality will increase the happiness factor of a purchase. Meet these green expectations by,

Promoting the providers of your locally grown and sourced products with a short bio. Revealing the face behind the produce brings reality and a sense of personality to the buying experience. Remember story telling is key.

Showing your customers that sustainability and the reduction of waste destined for landfill is high on your agenda. Offer on-site recycling bins for batteries, lightbulbs, and plastic bags or for the tea or coffee drinkers offer re-usable cups. You will be surprised how many people will visit your shop to recycle their items.

We all have faced the situation of not being able to finish a freshly handmade sandwich or a generous meal if you are able to show you compost all the left-over breakfast, brunches, lunches, teas, and dinners, you’ll provide the confidence that consumers green credentials are met resulting in a healthier happier environment and business bank balance!

Shop local not only meets the needs of customers by providing the feel-good experience, but also benefits you, the independent business owners. The growth of the Shop Local trend is driving consumer traffic to the high street, increasing local spending and boosting your brand awareness as the social media savvy shoppers obsessed with ‘friends,’ ‘sharing’ and ‘likes’ ‘Share the Love for Shop Local’ on social media. We call that a ‘win win.’

In summary, large national chains were once the preferred  ‘go to’ provider for your weekly bulk shop or quick dine out treat but not now. The evolving consumer has shown how they are fed-up with faceless corporates, welcoming independent businesses that better understand and represent them, their beliefs and their ethics.

Our advice is to it take joy from wherever it comes and for us it’s a leisurely trip to our high street, shopping local and supporting the community that was there when we needed, provided our tea/coffee/loaf of freshly baked artisan bread or new item of clothing and a friendly smile.

Independents are the cream in our coffees and as they say “the cream always rises to the top”.

If you want to find out more about how Expression supports independent business owners who love their business visit

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