THE Covid-19 pandemic has changed the nature of retail.

People's buying habits have changed as they have grappled with the tough effects of the virus itself and the ensuing lockdowns and restrictions on everyday life.

It's been a tough time for our local businesses as they have had to cope with customers' habits changing, alterations to their staffing structure, and in many cases periods of time where they have had to close or heavily change their set-up to allow for social distancing, restrictions on numbers, hygiene etc.

And all this as we head towards the traditionally busy Christmas shopping season.

Relying simply on bricks and mortar and physical buildings for your retail operation may not suffice in the current situation.

Customers still want to shop, they still want to buy, but businesses are having to innovate in how they operate and broaden their outlook in how they serve their customers.

Many more people are now buying online, ordering from their living rooms, and having goods delivered to their door. We are all seeing the numerous delivery vehicles going about their business, delivering the items we're all ordering from websites.

Yet it is estimated that around two in five businesses in the UK do not have a functioning website or the ability to trade online. And businesses that do have a digital arm are seeing increasing revenue and establishing stronger footholds to face the uncertainties of the future.

If you are a local business grappling with these issues, trying to work out how you can move forward and trade successfully as your traditional way of working has changed so radically in the last few months, we can help you.

This newspaper - part of the national Newsquest group - wants to support all our local companies, large and small, in all sectors. We all want and need a vibrant local economy where our local firms maximise their potential and see revenues grow as much as possible.

And if our local businesses are succeeding, that means local people have the best chance of keeping their jobs and finding new ones.

Through LOCALiQ, our digital marketing arm, we can provide FREE advice and guidance, create entire fully functioning websites for you, and then help drive traffic to your site, thereby increasing your revenues and giving you an extra way of reaching your audience as we all move forward. You CAN still have a shop window - it may just be a virtual one instead of a glass one.

So lockdown, social distancing and the pandemic do not have to spell an end to your business. It may just mean you have to change direction a little.

Let us help you. We can guide you on your virtual needs, help drive your sales and provide great value marketing and advertising in all our local newspaper titles in the region - online and in print.

For a chat, to help you understand how we can help, contact our sales manager Lynda Hargill at, telephone 01756 797791 or 07854 745552.