I won’t lie – times are hard right now for local, sustainable, zero-waste shops like Shop Zero. A cost-of-living crisis following hot on the heels of a global pandemic means that High Streets everywhere are feeling the strain.
Without wanting to be all doom and gloom, it really is a case of “use us or lose us” when it comes to supporting your favourite independent shops or suppliers (the complete opposite of our usual message to use less!)
So, how can you support your favourite sustainable business? I’ve put together 10 ideas that I know we love at Shop Zero and I believe would help other fantastic businesses too:
1. Spread the word
Tell your friends, family, and colleagues about the shop or business. Share their social media posts, website, and other information whenever you have a chance. The more content is shared, the more it tells the search and social algorithms that the content should be shown to a greater number of people.
2. Shop at the store
This may seem obvious, but one of the most effective ways to support a zero-waste shop is to shop there. The next time you’re heading somewhere that sells single-use plastics, try to fit in a visit to a shop with more sustainable choices instead (and tot up all the savings you will make long-term by making a reusable swap 😊)
Some zero-waste shops have online stores too and offer a range of delivery options if it’s not convenient for you to visit in person.
At Shop Zero, for example, we use a local cycle courier company that can deliver orders to certain parts of Nottingham, which is a great way for us to support another sustainable business.
3. Encourage others to shop there too
Invite your friends and family to visit the shop with you. If they are not familiar with zero-waste or plastic-free shopping, this can be a great opportunity to explain the concept and benefits to them and even show how zero-waste shopping works.
4. Provide feedback
Let the shop owner know what you think about their products and service. Positive feedback can help the shop owner to stay motivated that they’re on the right track as well as to make improvements.
Is there a product you really love? Something you want to try out but can’t find? Something you’ve heard about that you think other customers would like too? We love to hear your thoughts!
5. Bring your own containers
Remember to bring your own containers to the shop to refill them. This will reduce packaging waste and encourage the shop owner to stock more bulk items.
If you have some spare time on your hands and want to make a difference, you could offer to help the zero-waste shop owner with tasks such as restocking, cleaning, and organising. Depending on your skills, you might even want to volunteer to help with maintaining the business’s website, blog, admin or promoting events.
This can help the shop owner to save money and provide a better shopping experience for customers, as well as to spread the word about living more sustainably.
7. Leave reviews
Leave positive reviews on the shop’s social media, website, and review sites. This is a huge help when it comes to boosting visibility and attracting more customers. Right now, 98% of people read reviews before they decide to try out a local business – Google reviews are the most trusted.
8. Buy gift cards
If your favourite zero-waste shop sells gift cards, why not give them to friends and family as gifts on special occasions? This will help the shop owner to generate revenue and increase awareness about the shop.
9. Attend events
Many sustainably focused shops run events such as workshops and talks. They’re an important part of what we do here at Shop Zero and showcase some wonderful local suppliers and zero-waste pioneers.
Attending events can help you to learn more about zero-waste living and support the shop at the same time. If other local businesses run workshops and see that they’re well attended, it gives them encouragement to run similar events in the future.
10. Sign up for the business’s e-newsletter
Your favourite sustainable business probably sends out a regular email newsletter to people who sign up for their mailing list. This is a fantastic way to find out about products and services from the business, as well as new initiatives, and how you can get more involved or lend your support. (If you’re not receiving the Shop Zero newsletter yet, you can sign up at the bottom of this page ↓↓↓).
Your support matters
There’s so much happening in the world right now that it can be hard to know how to make a difference. Even doing one or two of the things on this list can have a big impact on sustainable businesses, helping them to stay afloat financially and continue to provide sustainable products and services to your community.