Shoppers across Dumfries and Galloway are being urged to support local stores online amid a sharp rise in the number of firms trading virtually.
The Scotland Loves Local campaign has found that three-quarters (74%) of businesses who responded to a survey in the region said they had the capacity to take online orders, with a quarter (25%) of them having only made that possible since the start of lockdown in the spring.
And, in the critical Christmas shopping period, festive bargain hunters are being urged not to automatically turn to international retail giants when shopping on the internet.
Scotland Loves Local, led by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), aims to help the financial recovery from Covid-19 by supporting the nation’s economy from its grassroots.
Phil Prentice, STP’s Chief Officer, said: “Whether in person or online, it’s critical that we all think local first when shopping.
“Since the outbreak of coronavirus, shops across Dumfries and Galloway have gone above and beyond to find safe ways of staying in business and ensuring their loyal customers do not go without.
“Many who’ve never traded online before have swiftly set up websites for shopping and ordering. The way they’ve taken off in such a short space of time is remarkable.
“It’s critical for their immediate survival and the future of our high streets that we support local businesses whenever we can, whether physically or virtually. They need us now more than ever.”
With the lead up to Christmas a critical trading period, strong online sales are vital to those bolstering their in-store activities with digital services.
Mr Prentice added: “When shopping online, we need to look at what the stores close to us are offering and make a conscious effort to support them. Browse their online offers the same way you would the shop shelves.
“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 continue to be there for us.”