News & people

Brits prefer to have a shop around the corner than a pub, park or train station

A good corner shop is now more important to Brits than the local pub, according to a survey.

The research found Brits also value their local corner shop more than having green spaces, good transport links or a school near our home.

It seems that more than a year and half spent in lockdowns may have changed our priorities  – with 70% of Brits now saying they want a good corner shop within 200 metres of their front door – above a park, post box, pub, train station, school or even large supermarket.

The study, carried out by new B2B e-commerce platform Subscribbe, also revealed that corner shops are more crucial in towns and cities in Wales and the South West of the country compared to further North or South. Cardiff topped the poll with 95% of residents naming corner shops as the most important service or convenience they wanted on their doorstep.

Retail Expert Graham Soult said: “A good corner shop is clearly still essential for any community. Having a quality convenience store nearby is certainly one of the big influences when it comes to buying or renting a new home, and that trend is only likely to increase as more of us embrace the “shop local” message.

“In today’s world, convenience has never been more important – and these results show that we still value popping round the corner to the local shop, despite being able to order more and more everyday products via our phones.”  

The poll also revealed that these local lifelines are equally as important to millennials as they are too baby boomers.

More than three quarters (77%) of 18-24 year olds said that having a corner shop nearby was more important than a supermarket (57%), pub (48%) or park (42%). Meanwhile 72% of those over 65 placed being able to pop to a good corner shop above living close to a post box (67%), park (63%) or pub (30%).

Erica Donna, co-founder of Subscribbe said: “I’m not surprised convenience stores topped the poll. Good corner shops proved vital during the pandemic – their versatility enabled them to provide multiple services for customers when they needed it most – and all on people’s doorstep. Sadly these cornerstones of the community are under threat unless they can compete with the buying power of big supermarkets.”

The survey also revealed what customers are looking for from their local shop – with nearly 70% of people from Yorkshire saying they would use their corner shop more if it was cheaper, and just over half of the Londoners questioned wanting to see more choice of products instore.

One in five Brummies want more additional services such as parcel collections and returns, 30% of Welsh residents would enjoy a loyalty card scheme, and 46% of people from Northern Ireland would like to have 24-hour opening.

Although convenience stores are proving to be the most desirable local amenities, some 3,000 stores have closed their doors in the UK since 2012 due to tough competition from big supermarkets – and the cofounder predicts that more than double that – 6,000 plus – could close within the next five years.

Despite her grim prophecy, Erica claims that she and the Subscribbe team have created a solution that can save the convenience store industry – and keep these cornerstones of communities open for years to come.

The team will be launching Subscribbe – a wholesale e-commerce platform that will enable independent convenience stores to compete with the big supermarkets.

Using a wholesale subscription marketplace model, Subscribbe’s e-commerce ecosystem connects manufacturers directly to stores. This enables stores to buy direct from manufacturers (OEMs), cutting out costly middlemen and wholesalers.

The platform creates a ‘corner shop conglomerate’ – bringing thousands of individual stores together so they have more buying power – meaning they can buy at wholesale prices without having to purchase in wholesale volume.

The technology platform uses proprietary design, pricing fulfilment and logistics algorithms and technologies to connect independent warehouse and logistics operators. Subscribbe can also help stores to become more “stock efficient” – ensuring the most popular items are always available and any stock wastage is vastly reduced.

The founding team hopes that when Subscribbe is launched in Q4 of 2021, it will have an initial 150 stores signed up across London. Their ultimate goal is to have 5,000 stores signed up in the UK by 2025 – saving 45,000 jobs and boosting the UK economy by £1billion.