Shopping local may save Christmas in the UK. Supermarket food shortages have seen the rise and rise of Farmers’ markets, now teaming with customers from the well-heeled to the poor.
Expect market hours to extend beyond the weekend to meet growing demand. Plus, more goods and services will be available, too, as entrepreneurs focus on local economies to keep them in business.
Food grown and supplied locally is the new normal, even if it’s not by choice. The bite of COVID and BREXIT has some predicting empty supermarket shelves are not a blip – there are here to stay.
So how did the UK supply chains go so wrong?
The Perfect Storm
The UK was always going to do it tough with Brexit conditions, but no one saw COVID-19 coming and how that would cause mayhem to supply chains and logistics globally. The UK’s overreliance on EU workers in transport and other industries like hospitality was soon evident when
Just In Time Logistics
However, the global reliance on the JIT (just in time) model has proved the real bottleneck in delivery and logistics.
One event that highlighted the world’s overreliance on JIT was the Ever Given accident in the Suez Canal. Did you know that the Ever Given stuck for six days cost $60 billion in frozen trade?
The New York Times reports an investigation into the grounding of Ever Given found the accident on 23 March 2021 was a combination of pilot error, high winds, lack of piloting tugs and poor manoeuvrability of the ship due to its size and small rudders.
Commitment to widen the narrowest part of the Suez Canal and improve safety with more pilot training will help but not solve the supply chain woes that are now biting at till.
The UK has more significant challenges to overcome now. It’s committed to tight Brexit terms that have sent thousands of HGV lorry drivers from their shores and are unlikely to return.
Prioritising High Margin Goods
Shortage of supplies meant businesses are now prioritising what products they need, which is not good for consumer confidence and encourages hoarding.
There was a time you could get almost anything in a supermarket, but those days are over, and now consumers can expect to find high margin goods only.
For example, a BBC report reveals the whole of East England had a undersupply of bottled water recently. Bottled water didn’t make it onto the lorries as it’s a low margin product.
Water filter systems should see a rise in demand—appliances like fridges that a water filter feature will become a necessity.
Consumer habits will adapt to supply shortages, and businesses can also get in front of their needs by changing tact to attract local custom.
Going Local Business Strategy
So how can businesses make the most of shopping local?
- Investing in local SEO initiatives to attract local online customers
- Local marketing campaigns
- Local PPC advertising and local SMM (social media marketing)
- Pop-up stores at markets
- Local village store
- Local delivery
Delivery fees are sure to rise, and either the cost is passed onto the consumer or the price of goods rises. Either way, businesses are likely to see a drop in online demand for low margin goods.
However, there are opportunities abound to provide locals with locally sourced products.
Your online store is still relevant as consumers want to buy online at a time that suits them. Plus, consumers still want home delivery, so be sure to offer it.
Businesses that can get in front of changing customer requirements will remain relevant and rewarded with more sales.
Invest in a Local SEO expert, so your site is found by your revised target audience.
Tweak your marketing campaigns to be more local and ideally partner with local businesses to present a united front and strength in numbers. Who doesn’t love shopping in the local village now?
Life is not as we knew it – Brexit and COVID-19 put an end to it, but it’s not all doom and gloom.
Where there is adversity there is also opportunity
Shopping local and in the village is more than just popping into the corner shop for last-minute items like milk or bread.
Locals want to visit the weekend pop-up tents that may be selling craft beers, cheeses, gourmet pies, as well as arts and crafts.
The simple pleasures of times past, for example, meeting neighbours for recreation on the village green or attending the local fest in the village square firmly in the event calendar.
Shopping local can not only save Christmas – but also help save humanity as well as the planet.
Businesses quick to change tact can get on the local bandwagon and prosper.