It is no secret that Loyalzoo – our loyalty app for local shops – came about as a result of our own interests. We enjoy to shop local in our neighbourhood, and want to help these shops grow and compete against the big brands. The papers are always reporting that local businesses are closing, so shopping in them is vital to keep them, and our neighbourhoods, alive.
So what’s the problem with big brands? Well – nothing, really. Many of them offer a good range of decent quality products, their opening hours are convenient and there is usually parking on the premises. Many offer wifi in store, low prices and central locations.
So far so good. But one thing they lack is excitement and interest in themselves and their products. You will never get an employee in a global chain enthusiastically talking about where their latest product came from and why they decided to stock it. Or talk about how their latest flavour came about – as a result of their best friends’ idea and their uncle’s abundant apple-tree.
Local shops have their limitations, sure. Their opening hours aren’t always as long as we would have liked them to be, the parking may be limited. But the variety of products and the stories behind them makes it a far more interesting place than any chain shop will ever be. You can tell by talking to the staff and the atmosphere inside. If it’s a cafe – is it an in-out feel, or are people sitting down with a friend or two, chatting away and enjoying themselves? If it’s a food shop or bakery, are the people in the queue mostly huffing and puffing in stress, or are they waiting patiently? Maybe we are just very lucky – but our experience in local shops is predominantly a much more relaxed matter than that in the big shops.
We still use the big brands, of course we do. Sometimes the convenience is unbeatable. But every time, whilst we queue up in another seething line full of people cursing and oozing passive aggressiveness because it is rush hour and they are all hangry and angry at the cashier not working fast enough, we think we could have – should have – gone to the local instead. It would have been more expensive, taken longer and finding parking would have been a pain – but being in the shop would have made us relax and lower our shoulders.
Not every local shop is like this – but many are. And none of the big ones are. So we shop local when we can and we urge you to do the same.