Every year, consumers who just walk to local shops rather than driving prevent the production of one million tons of carbon emissions – a significant contribution to curbing climate change.
National Walk Shop Day, on September 16, launches the FWD My Shop is Your Shop (MSYS) campaign to boost the number of walking shoppers.
The environment and sustainability are crucial issues facing our society. One simple evaluation proves it for me – shoppers have demonstrated enthusiasm for re-using plastic shopping bags and buying bags for life.
Independent retailers are charging anything from 5p to 10p for a plastic shopping bag and this is having its impact on the number of bags ordered by local stores. Two independents told me that they could not remember when they had last put in an order for them.
The superstores have the marketing budgets and in-store resource to use their climate-change credentials as powerful marketing messages. Green, to quote Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy, is now cool and his company and others like his will be maximising their environmental support programmes with both barrels.
The fragmented, unorganised, many-sided independent newsagent, c-store and rural shop sector could be at a huge disadvantage here. But MSYS is providing a generic Walk Shop marketing platform that did not previously exist.
PUNCH OVER ITS WEIGHT
Individual wholesalers could and have launched their own green programmes. Individual retailers have done the same with promotional links with local schools, charging for plastic bags and helping local green causes.
But while all this is very worthy and valuable to each individual wholesaler and retailer, the sums of the parts can punch over their weight when a generic platform is created on which these individual entities can deploy a generic consumer message, or indeed adapt that message in their own way.
The FWD My Shop is Your Shop campaign, launched in 2004, was designed as a platform for getting the positive values of the independent retailer, wrapped in a community context, out into the consumer market.
It was also designed to help independents package their local involvement offering to their local communities. Many say it has succeeded, but what is needed is an extention to the MSYS ‘season’ which centres on National Independents’ Week in June. Hence National Walk Shop Day on Wednesday September 16.
OBJECTIVE: INCREASE WALKING SHOPPERS
People who walk to local shops help the environment by NOT producing 1 million tons of carbon emissions every year.
What the campaign seeks to do is to increase the number of consumers who walk to the local shop for their newspaper, groceries, alcohol and non-foods.
In the absence of resource to fund a major advertising campaign on TV and in the press – which is the superstores’ preferred method of persuading the consumer – the wholesale/independent sector has to use a more efficient local means of communication.
The retailer ‘who lives over the shop’ is that means of communication. He or she can mention in a friendly way, or shout out loud, or use point of sale or other means of communication to inform and remind customers that walking to the shop will help save the planet.
The MSYS Walk Shop campaign was planned in 2007, trialled in the autumn of 2008 and is now fully fledged for the autumn of 09. Wholesalers and suppliers are planning to support the concept with specials and other promotions.
Campaigning retailers who sit on the FWD PR Action Group (PRAG) are up for it, as they say.
AVOID FOOD WASTE
It is a scandal that pound;11bn of food is wasted very year, thrown away because it has been over-bought and passed its sell-by date or thrown out as scraps.
Government says the average family can save pound;11 a week by getting smarter about its food purchases, avoiding buying on a whim, watching pennies on buying trips.
It is a guarantee that if they buy food for planned family or individual meals on a just-in-time basis they will save on their total food spend. And cutting petrol costs will bring another saving. All this is a worthwhile, credible and proved message for people using local shops.
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=== MSYS, GLENN, JUNE AND THE TORTOISE ===
Which story emanating from National Independents’ Week 09 pulled the heartstrings most? One nomination centres on the very successful Best-One store in Mercer Way, Romsey, Hampshire, run by Glenn Bowman (below right), and Charlie the tortoise.
Regular customer June Rickman, (below left) obviously upset, told Glenn that her pet tortoise had gone AWOL. A tortoise owner for more than 40 years, this was a trauma for June.
Glenn and his staff Krissy, Annie, Lou and cleaner Lynn recognised June’s distress and immediately promised her they would buy a replacement very quickly. And now new tortoise Charlie is making a slow reconnoitre of June’s garden.
“I come to Glenn’s store every day to buy my Daily Mirror – I love the crossword – and my life would just not be the same without the cheerful friendship of the staff. It just does not happen at the big impersonal superstores,” said June, who was a guest of honour at the store’s National Cuppa Day morning tea party.
Glenn has an average of 400 customers a day and is supplied “very efficiently” by Batley’s at Fareham. Best-One, he says, “is very professional with excellent service, but they leave you with your independence.”
He is now planning to take part in National Walk Shop Day on September 16 with an eye on linking up with the local school where climate change issues are big among staff and children.
=== WALK SHOP KEY FACTS ===
Saving one million tons of carbon
Two hundred independent c-stores and newsagents and their customers took part in MSYS research conducted in 2008 to establish the following calculations:
l Based on a universe of 48,000 independent stores
l Average transactions by walking shoppers per shop per day 495
l Average distance walked per transaction 0.93 km
l Total carbon NOT created by ignoring the car per transaction 0.12 kg
l Total carbon NOT created per store per average day 53.4 kg
l Total carbon NOT created per year by walking shoppers 917,860 tons
l Add carbon NOT produced by walkers to other stores such as greengrocers, delis, estimate conservative total one million tons.
l Customers in store participated by signing in and recording distances walked.
Scandal Of Food Waste
l Government data says families could save pound;11 a week by planning food purchasing and avoiding overbuying
l By shopping at nearby stores families could buy-for-today (and perhaps tomorrow) to meet immediate needs more carefully
l Government data says the contents of the average household bin is made up of 40% food waste
l pound;1bn worth of food thrown away is still “in date”
l Buried under other waste in landfill, rotting food decomposes and generates vast quantities of methane
l Total food waste in England and Wales annually is valued at pound;10.2bn
l Scottish government Go Greener campaign says families could save pound;410 a year by avoiding food waste
l 60% of all food waste found in bins is untouched
It’s Healthy For You
l Walking is good exercise
l Total miles walked by people using local shops per day 12,343,414.
l Total miles per week 86,403,901.
l Total miles per year 4,403,007,863.