The Christmas shopping season is in full swing, with millions of us hitting the high street this month to buy gifts for those we love. But should we be visiting larger chain stores or shopping in local and independent businesses?
D2c brands (Direct to consumer brands) are brands which don’t rely on wholesalers, and resellers to get their products to mass audiences. That means that they often depend on local consumers and independently-minded shoppers to reach and establish a customer base. But are they the right choice for you? Here are some of the benefits of shopping local this Christmas.
Express Your Individuality
One of the biggest benefits of shopping with independent and local brands is that you’re sure to find more unique and special pieces that you’ve never seen before: perfect for special gifting. Chain stores are designed to look identical and they often stock the same products, making it easier to find what you’re looking for but less easy to find something original and unique. From this point of view, independent local stores are an ideal alternative: a breath of fresh air and an escape from the generic.
Positive Environmental Impact
It might surprise you to know that choosing to shop on your local high street will actually lower the carbon footprint of your shopping trip, and have an overall more positive environmental impact. This is because the stores on your local high street are usually within walking distance: no need to drive or take public transport to a larger city or shopping centre. What’s more, many local businesses are owned and run by local artisans who source their materials locally too, meaning that the products you buy will have a smaller carbon footprint too. Overall then, reduced air pollution and reduced impact on the environment are both by-products of shopping local.
The prevalence of local craftsmen has steadily declined in recent years: this is because the skills of those craftspeople, artists, and retailers simply aren’t being utilized or appreciated. Shopping more locally can help to reverse this trend: if you are buying hand made products from local designers, artists, creators, then you are encouraging them to continue to develop and showcase their skills, whilst simultaneously promoting the idea of making and selling their products to the next generation of artists.
Create the Identity of your Area
Finally, the identity and personality of your local high street will be defined by the shops that inhabit it. An active, thriving high street can actually help to make a community more healthy and drive house prices up, making it a better place to both work and live. Think about certain cities and districts (such as Camden Town, Glasgow and Manchester) that are known for their independent businesses that bring a unique flavour to each area. And don’t be mistaken in thinking that just because a shop is independent that it will be expensive: in fact, independent retailers are often more affordable than larger department stores because they have less overheads.
Regent Street, London – one of the busiest streets in the world is a real nightmare for shoppers during the Christmas holidays