I often wonder about the future and despite Fermanagh being quite far behind much of the UK we have come a long way in terms of fashion and technology. I often laugh at old pictures of me and my friends from school and the fashion we used to wear. We didn’t have much selection of shops here in Fermanagh when I was growing up and even less when my parents were growing up. I am thankful for the great selection we have now and although some people moan about the fact that there are certain shops that we don’t have we should be thankful for what we do have and support our local businesses.
Studies show that a staggering 80% of us are shopping online rather than supporting our local high street for even the simplest of things. Many will say this is due to price, ease of access, choice and variety and modern technology. You could say that this is a natural progression in the modern world; however I find it very sad to see stores closing and our high street half empty.
Despite the ease of access of internet stores you can always argue that a high street store has its advantages. Firstly we are known here in Fermanagh for our excellent customer service and friendly approach. You just don’t get the same customer service, if any at all, from an internet store. Think about it, if you compare how many times you have been let down by an internet store and how many times you have been let down by a local store I would say the majority of us have been let down more times by an internet store. I for one have been let down more times than I can remember by different internet stores mainly due to the wrong product being sent, something being broken or damaged or the wrong size. In many cases when getting a refund or exchange you have to wait for a long time and this is after having sent several emails. How much easier is it to just walk into a shop, explain the situation and either get your refund or exchange there and then.
With an internet store you can’t actually see, touch or try on what you are buying. You are taking a bit of a risk especially if you need it in a hurry. Yes it is easy to power up your laptop or tablet or even your phone and just click to buy however it is also easy to just pop into town try on and hand over your card and you have it instantly.
Although many internet stores have reviews, tips and advice on the products you are buying there is something a little more reassuring about speaking to a local expert about a product face to face and them actually demonstrating or showing you how the product works before you commit to buy.
Although I feel at the moment there is no immediate danger of the internet taking over in Fermanagh, it is likely to happen if more and more of us continue to ignore our local stores and shop online. I am not saying never shop on the internet, let’s face it there are certain items we simply can’t get at home, however instead consider shopping locally instead if you know you can get it locally. I think we would all agree that it would be a very sad sight to see empty towns and villages and no nice shop windows to look at.