Government launches Shop Local week to boost small businesses

To boost small retailers, the government has launched Shop Local week, a campaign designed to get consumers shopping in their local area again.

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Mindful of the impact that the COVID-19 lockdown has had on high streets across the UK, the government has today (10 August) launched Shop Local week (#ShopLocal), which will run from 10-16 August.

This article will explain what Shop Local week actually involves, and how your small business can take advantage.

What is Shop Local week?

Shop Local week is a government campaign designed to help UK high streets bounce back from the post-lockdown slump.

It was launched by Business Secretary Alok Sharma, who proclaimed that:

“From corner shops and florists, to newsagents, cafes and pubs, our high streets are at the heart of every community in every corner of the UK.

“Business owners have done an incredible job so far to welcome shoppers back safely, and I hope people across the country will do their bit this week to help our high streets bounce back to protect jobs and support local communities.”

Mr Sharma also set out eight reasons consumers should shop local, including helping to support the local economy, the Eat Out to Help Out discount, the lower environmental impact, and a better shopping experience.

These comments were echoed by Small Business Minister Paul Scully, while Mike Cherry, the National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses added:

“It’s vital now more than ever that we do what we can to support our local small businesses. The past few months have been among the most difficult that businesses have ever had and as we slowly reopen, the public can help by supporting their local businesses. Whether it’s your local grocer, decorators or florist, they all need the support of their communities in order to survive this crisis and thrive.

“Even those businesses who haven’t been able to reopen their stores, or members of the public who are continuing to shield, then shopping online is a great way to still do your part. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy nationwide, but crucially are the cornerstones of our local communities.”

However, while small businesses will be cheered by this publicity, Shop Local week does seem to be limited to a PR campaign, with the government doing little concrete to actually encourage consumers to shop local.

It’s also unclear how businesses are supposed to access the digital assets associated with the campaign – they are mentioned on the page but no further information is given.

How can my small business take advantage of Shop Local week?

However, small businesses should definitely not ignore Shop Local week on these grounds.

The extra publicity can only have a positive impact on high street footfall, making this the perfect time to launch discounts and promotions designed to tempt consumers in-store.

Also, make sure to check if there are any promotions being done on a local area level that you could promote/get involved with, and consider partnering with other local businesses to offer joint deals or cross promotion.

Also make sure to highlight any extra safety measures you have in place, as many consumers are still nervous about shopping in person for non-essential purchases.

Written by:
Alec is Startups’ resident expert on politics and finance. He’s provided live updates on the budget, written guides on investing and property development, and demystified topics like corporation tax, accounting software, and invoice discounting. Before joining, he worked in the media for over a decade, conducting media analysis at Kantar Media and YouGov, and writing a wide variety of freelance pieces.
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