In a recent issue of Retail Newsagent, Henllan shopkeeper Vanessa Griffiths said that she used the Morrisons and Waitrose web sites to compare their food prices and "prove to our customers that we're better value".

Shoppers will be doing the same thing. Computing magazine estimates that 90 per cent of sales research will be done on line using either the internet or mobile phones and shoppers will "visit fewer web sites than they would stores if shopping on foot"!

In the same article it says that most big retailers predict that online sales will account for between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of total sales by 2013! (Argos, it says, is already 40% online.)

For local shops, this might be an opportunity as people make fewer trips to retail parks and because people may not go on line to buy goods that cost under £10!

But as Vanessa Griffiths shows, it also means that your value is likely to come under increased scrutiny. Perhaps you should check out how your best sellers compare by visiting a supermarket web site as a first step towards tackling this opportunity!