The Scotland Loves Local campaign, run by Scotland’s Towns Partnership and the Scottish Government, has found the number of shops trading online is rising sharply in the countdown to Christmas as they use every means possible to help customers and communities amid Covid-19 restrictions.
Research as part of the national drive for people to think local first has found more than two-thirds of businesses surveyed said they had the capacity to take online orders, with almost a quarter of them having only made that possible since the start of lockdown.
The call comes after The Scotsman launched its own campaign to encourage consumers to #supportlocal in their Christmas shopping during the pandemic.
While non-essential shops in level four areas of the country have had to close until 6pm on 11 December to comply with the latest Scottish Government outbreak mitigation measures, many have shifted focus to website and social media sales.
The campaign said with many festive shoppers turning online while unable to physically go to stores, they are being urged not to make internet retail giants their automatic first port of call.
Phil Prentice, chief officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, said: “Don’t forget your local retailers when shopping online. Since the outbreak of coronavirus, local shops have gone above and beyond to find safe ways of staying in business and to ensure their loyal customers do not go without.
“Many who’ve never traded online before have swiftly set up online capacity for shopping and ordering. The way they’ve taken off in such a short space of time is truly remarkable.
"It’s critical for their immediate survival and the future of Scotland’s high streets that we support our local businesses whenever we can in the safest way possible, whether that be in store or online. They need us now more than ever.”
He added: “By thinking local first online as well as in person, we are helping the people who live around us, protecting jobs in our communities and investing in the future by ensuring local businesses are there for us in life beyond the pandemic.”