A survey of shoppers in Oxfordshire, conducted by A-Plan, the high street insurance broker, with branches in Abingdon, Witney, Bicester, Carterton and Oxford, reveals that the majority of residents (80%) favour the advice provided by local shop-keepers and business owners over national chains; with 56% seeking professional advice from staff before making a purchase.
With a quarter of people spending up to £60 per visit and almost 40% choosing to shop locally to support independent retailers, it’s apparent that Oxfordshire shoppers are fans of their local high street. In fact, almost 70% prefer shopping locally to online.
However, despite the clear support for local retailers, 24% cite insufficient or costly parking as prohibitive reasons for not visiting their high street. And 81% believe their town needs more independent shops: 60% of respondents would like to see a greengrocer on their high street, and 42% desire a local butcher.
Chris Stone, branch manager at A-Plan Abingdon, explained: “As a business that is focused on delivering a personal service to local people, we wanted to gauge exactly how much people value the expertise provided by their local retailers and businesses. It’s almost 30 years since the world-wide-web was created and 24 years since the first online shop, yet despite the huge level of convenience the internet has brought us, it is clear from the survey results, that we still need and value human interaction and advice.
“A-Plan offers a face-to-face service, enabling local customers to ask questions and talk things through to help them make an informed decision. We are here to support local residents and Oxfordshire-based businesses by providing a personalised service, designed to help them find the protection they need.”
With 72% of people concerned their high street is losing its identity to impersonal national chains; 37% claiming their local shop-keepers know them well; and 76% preferring transacting in person rather than online, it’s clear the people of Oxfordshire have a definite need for local, independent experts providing a personable service to local people.
Gill Carver, Secretary for the Abingdon-on-Thames Chamber of Commerce believes, “This survey reflects what we as a Chamber also believe – that the local independent shops are needed and wanted and that the personal service and advice given during a purchase is what differentiates us from the national chains. Our local shops also bring a sense of community to the town and a sense of belonging – all so important in what is fast becoming a very online world. As a Chamber our aim is to support our local businesses, and through our regular markets and events to entice more visitors to our lovely town centre.”
For further information about your local insurance expert, please visit A-Plan, 7-9 High Street. Abingdon, OX14 5BB, or call 01235 550200, 8.30am – 5.00pm Monday – Friday, and 8.30am – 12.00pm on Saturday.