Jane Binnion column

Jane Binnion from Lancaster, social media trainer.
Jane Binnion from Lancaster, social media trainer.

As a big supporter of Shop Local and equally a fan of the tools that the Internet offers us, I‘m in an obvious dilemma over the argument that people using the Internet to shop are killing the high street.

But I’m not totally convinced that it’s true.

I live in Galgate and I support our local traders as much as I can. I always prefer human contact and to buy things from people that know me and are nice to me.

I’m not a big fan of shopping to be honest, but I did love the range of independent shops in Lancaster as it was different from the same old same old, and I’m sad that many of them have now closed.

From what people tell me there are factors other than the internet to consider, such as the high cost of business rates which means a new trader may be more inclined to set up a website than a physical shop.

The traffic jams and expensive car parking all must be contributing factors, as is being able to buy a new frock in the same store as your fish fingers. Also some stores actively encourage and reward online purchasing as it’s cheaper for them.

Of course changing technology is involved. The sad demise of HMV suffered from the popularity of the MP3 player, as Kodak suffered from the digital camera and Blacksmiths from the motor car.

Things change and that’s good for some and bad for others, but consumers having options is important.

I still prefer books made of paper, but eBook’s are very convenient, and that’s what it comes down to. For reasons I don’t understand, our post office isn’t allowed to sell car tax. So my options are a 90 minute round trip to Lancaster post office, or buy it online. A no brainer for a busy gal like me.

People will do what ‘s most convenient for them. When I was a kid we bought our clothes from the catalogue not the high street, because we could pay over 20 weeks. More expensive of course, but the best solution for our family at the time.

I don’t buy shoes, clothes or food online because I like to see what I’m buying and I can’t be bothered with the whole packing things up and posting them back. All in all I feel pretty sure that the shopping experience is not dead because people seem to enjoy it too much; we just research on the internet before we go now.