After reading about a local music shop closing after starting up in 1945, it got me thinking; if the death of local shops is something that will be inevitable as more and more of us buy on-line and from supermarkets.
I was saddened by the news of the local music shop closing, for many it held memories of buying their first guitar or having a go on a piano or drums for the first time. We all know times change and we can’t hold on to the past and made me wonder if the business closed because they haven’t moved with the times. When investigating their website, they had an on-line shop, but it did not have the full range of products and they could only be found by searching for the specific item. Maybe they didn’t change enough – we will never know.
Later in the week, I needed a new UV bulb for the pond filter, that got me thinking about buying local and supporting a local business. On searching the web, I found plenty of local suppliers with websites but no on-line shops. Unfortunately it was Sunday and they where all closed. Looking at the previous packaging I found the price and that it came from a local shop. Like most people, I work during the week, so getting to a shop is difficult. On searching the web, I found I could order two including 1-2 day delivery for the same cost. At this point, I had to be practical and give up on the local business and order from away.
Since then, I have been thinking about how a local shop could be competitive with on-line giants. I found the key items for me to be:
- Less than 10% more expensive
- Open outside 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday
- Alternatively have a current and up-to-date on-line shop
- Option to have items delivered
- Good marketing, so I know they exist
Like most people, I am willing to pay a small premium to keep the money local and have somewhere local I can get advice and expertise from.
I don’t think it is the end of local shops, I do, however, think that local shops need to change and think about how people’s buying habits are changing.
Tell me what you think on twitter @timdixon82