It is such a shame to see Chris Pettit, another independent retailer, leave the town.
But as Mr Pettit himself put it, you have to embrace the Internet or get left behind; even the larger electrical retailers find themselves battling it out against the likes of Internet shopping giants Amazon and Play, who have very few overheads in comparison to retailers with physical locations and can afford to sell things more cheaply.
But is Mr Pettit right when he says “you can’t trade online and give a personal service”?
I would be inclined to disagree. Social media – the likes of Twitter and Facebook – make businesses so much more personal and customer-focused than they used to be.
Grantham’s restaurants, clubs and pubs in particular are embracing the digital age to entice customers to their premises.
As the amount of people using the Internet increases every day, I’d say that any small business not using the Internet for promotion is missing out on potential trade – especially as search engines like Google are trying to make local searches even better.
And we can’t forget that websites work for you 24/7.
Even if the customers can’t come and talk to you in the shop directly, there are always enquiry forms.
People can ‘browse’ your store even outside of opening hours. Not everyone has the freedom to pop down to the shops if they work full time or have families.
The Internet stands for convenience and that’s what consumers want alongside value for money.
It’s clear that many people in Grantham simply don’t value local retailers anymore because they can get things cheaper elsewhere or get everything they need in one convenient place.
Most consumers seem to be driven by price these days – which is understandable, given the economic climate.
But is it that people just don’t know about the great businesses there are in the area?
Would having a website or using social media make them more aware of what’s on their doorstep?
Do people automatically assume that all local retailers are “expensive” without having a look first? I’d love to hear your views.