I WAS interested to read Neil Mackay’s recent comments about the perceived impact of Amazon on our local shops and town centres ("Before you click on Amazon, think of the damage it does", The Herald November 14). I would like to offer a more positive perspective.

I live in Dumfries and I own a business which sells ethical furnishings. Within the last year I have purchased my first commercial premises (an old church) in the town centre – and I have employed my first three staff. As a small business this was a major development, but it was only possible because I, myself, sell on Amazon.

It is a little-known fact that, like me, thousands of independent Scottish businesses use Amazon as a marketplace to sell their products. Many of us have been able to reach customers around the world – something I would never have dreamt of when I first started out.

Amazon has not killed my local retail business – it has created it. In addition to the new customers it brings, I have been able to expand as a result of the specialist tools and support services that Amazon offers to small business. Amazon has also researched and promoted e-commerce as a source of economic growth in rural areas and, throughout August and September, it hosted a “Clicks and Mortar” programme in Edinburgh. This allowed a range of small online retailers to set up a physical space in Waverley Mall and to learn from the experience.

To me, it seems that a blend of physical retail with online selling may be the only model which helps independent retailers to stay in business – and to stay in their town centres. There are lots of factors which have resulted in the demise of our High Streets but the rise in internet shopping need not be one of them. Mr Mackay is right to encourage people to shop local, but passing footfall may not be enough. We also need to make sure that local retailers, start-ups and small businesses have access to relevant training and support which enables them to set up and thrive online too.

We all need to make more effort to shop locally – whether it is Christmas or any other time of the year. But Amazon still has a positive role to play. Next time you shop on Amazon, look a little closer at the seller details. There is a good chance that you are buying from a small local business like mine.

Karen Riddick, Dumfries.