In a world where Greta Thunberg has made everyone from parents to policymakers, politicians to pre-teens take notice of the environmental challenges that we all face, shoppers are changing their habits. Whether that means saying “no” long and unnecessary holidays abroad thanks to “flight shaming”, opting to buy locally produced fruit and vegetables, or shunning online retail conglomerates because of their questionable business practices and policies, people expect more from where they live than ever before.
This means that there has never been a better time for cities and towns to encourage their local communities to shop “local” and in-person.
You already have your local community on your side. Now you need to give them a little push in the right direction so that they reduce their dependence on buying from afar and focus on what you have to offer.
How can you attract residents to your local shopping areas?
You might have the best reasons in the world for people to shop locally, but telling them to “shop local” isn’t going to be enough. Atmosphere is important. If you want to attract people to your town or city center but it’s dark and dingy and feels unsafe, you’ll have a tough time motivating people to support your community.
The good news is that the best to create an atmosphere is with light. Not only can you use lighting to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, but by incorporating highlights like light art and light sculptures, you can turn your local shopping areas and downtown retail spaces into attractions in their own right that become local gathering points for residents and popular destinations for visitors, too.
The great thing about using light to make your local retail spaces more appealing to residents is that you can use it throughout the year to reinforce your city’s cultural identity and celebrate seasonal festivities, too. A big one is, of course Christmas, where city lighting and Christmas markets are well-known ways to attract people into retail areas.
But experience and atmosphere lighting can work well all year round. Summer nights can last much longer with the right ambiance, for example:
Summer festivals are so much more enjoyable (and sharable!) when light is involved:
Animals keep residents of all ages happy throughout the year, and stop visitors in their tracks:
You can use light to support local community and charity campaigns, for locals and by locals:
And Halloween wouldn’t be the same without light to illuminate the creepy décor and clever costumes of fans!
Do you need help coming up with reasons to encourage your community to shop locally?
If you want to incentivize people to shop locally, you need to make them aware of just how important shopping locally is. Here are a few examples to get you started.
Shopping locally reduces environmental impact
locally owned businesses tend to make more local purchases, which means less transportation, lower energy and fuel costs, and less excessive packaging. In addition, locally owned businesses might be more flexible when it comes to packaging generally, taking notice when you complain about individually packed ketchup or bread sold in plastic bags, which means that you can make a visible difference in the place that you live.
Shopping locally supports job creation:
shopping at local businesses allows them to create jobs and provide services. If you abandon local stores for out-of-town shopping experiences, that means fewer local jobs, which in turn may result in fewer local services, and that’s bad for us all.
Shopping locally means voting with your wallet to shape your community:
by spending money at the local places where you shop, eat, and have fun, you’re helping to shape the unique local identity of our community, which makes where we live a great place to be. No local support, no quirky coffee shops or weird cinemas or fantastic markets.
Shopping locally keeps money circulating in your local community:
buying something from a shop that employs locals means that those people will probably reinvest their money back into the local community, keeping more money in the local economy, and boosting the overall wealth of the town or city.
Shopping locally helps to create a sustainable future for a community:
a wealthy community with interesting local shops and retailers is one that attracts new residents as well as occasional visitors. By shopping locally, you’re helping to secure a sustainable future for the places in which we live, and as an added bonus, local retailers often have a bit more time to get to know their customers, which means better service, too.
Bring it all together
You have great reasons to encourage people to shop locally. You know that light and decoration can be powerful drivers, helping make your city’s retail spaces attractive, atmospheric, safe, welcome, and very Instragrammable.
Let us help you pull these two strands together and show you how the right light can draw crowds all year round, or for a specific festivity like Christmas. Just get in touch.
We have a local MK Illumination office near you, fully of great ideas to help you use light, design, and creative thinking to make your local shopping area the place to be.