Benefits of shopping local
Small businesses are essential to the economy: they make up over 99% of the businesses in the country and employ nearly 60 million people or 47.5% of the workforce. While many business owners want to grow and scale, no matter what your business goals are, you’re always going to start out in the infancy stage – and you will always appreciate customers who ask themselves, “Why shop local?”
There are numerous benefits of shopping local, and in an economic recession those reasons to support small local businesses grow even more, as every customer dollar becomes vital. As many businesses shutter during the recent pandemic, the movement to shop local is gaining momentum. Will you join in?
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Why shop local?
The shop local movement actually began before the pandemic. People have long recognized that the benefits of shopping local go far beyond the businesses you’re supporting. By shopping local, you will:
- Support your community. Why shop local? The first reason is obvious: You’ll support your community. For every $100 you spend with a local business, your area gets $68 in economic return. That’s an amount that can add up – and pay for resources your community needs, rather than going into the invisible pockets of far-away CEOs.
- Create more jobs. Shopping local doesn’t just keep money in your community, it creates jobs. Those jobs create happy workers: 56% of local workers were highly committed to their jobs, compared to just 38.7% of workers at non-local businesses. When you support small local business, you could be contributing to your community’s happiness.
- Boost real estate values. Economic investment, jobs and a thriving small business community are all signs of a desirable place to live – which is why shopping local can actually help boost real estate values. That attracts more investments and results in higher local tax revenue, creating a cycle of positivity for your community.
- Help the environment. Online giants and two-day shipping are convenient, but sending all those packages around the country sends tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Keeping your shopping close to home means less shipping. Plus, 59.3% of local, independent makers say they occasionally or usually use recycled materials, another benefit of shopping local for the environment.
- Make a personal connection. While every business from big-box stores to mom-and-pop shops needs to determine how to provide more value to their customers than anyone else, you’ll likely get more of a personal touch at a small business. Every customer truly matters to a small business.
How to support local businesses
Your local gift shop or jewelry store may be the first place that comes to mind when you ask yourself, “Why shop local?” But those are just the start of how to support local businesses. Consider these ways you can tangibly support businesses close to home.
Learn more about your local shops
You know about a few stores downtown, but what about the outskirts of town or the next town over? You might be surprised what you can find locally. Do a Google search and check out the websites of your local businesses – or call if they don’t have a website. Finding new places to safely explore is another bonus in the socially distanced world.
Buy gift cards
Retail is a good start, but there are also many other ways to support small local business. If you can’t or don’t want to visit a restaurant or store, buy gift cards to use when the pandemic is over. They’re also thoughtful gifts for birthdays and anniversaries and encourage others to shop local.
It’s no surprise Grubhub reported 48% growth in 2020. As the pandemic hit, takeout skyrocketed, and it shows no signs of slowing down. To support local businesses even more, order takeout and pick it up yourself so they won’t lose money to the delivery fee. After all, one of the answers to “Why shop local?” is to give back.
Find local services
Can’t hit the gym? You can still support your local personal trainers and nutritionists by signing up for their online classes. Diving into some home improvement projects? Hire a local landscaper, gardener, handyman or roofer to take care of the outdoor work.
One of the benefits of shopping local is that you’ll find unique, diverse products – and you’ll want to share them. Post a picture on your Instagram or share the business’ Facebook page. Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool.
How to market your local business
As more people are asking themselves, “Why shop local?” they’re creating a wave of new customers that small business owners can capture with the right promotional strategy.
Create a Facebook page. Customers are used to finding everything they need to know online – that’s why every business needs a website. If you don’t have the skills, time or money, Facebook business accounts are easy to create and free. Plus, using social media right can help grow your business.
Ask for reviews. Reviews are important: 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. The good news for retailers is that many people want to support small local business: 72% of consumers will write a review when they are asked. Deliver a great customer experience, request a review and watch the buzz spread about your business.
Create a partnership. If your business is struggling, you’re not alone. Band together with other businesses in your area and offer coupons to each others’ shops to encourage customers to visit everyone on the block. Find a business with a complimentary product or service and offer a bundle. Partnerships are just as important for a local business as joint ventures are for a large one.
Bring in the media. It’s easy for your X factor to get lost in tough times, but remember that you have something no one else does. Get word out to your local media about unique products you carry or touching employee stories. Come up with a fun, newsworthy touch for your products – some businesses memorably gave away free rolls of toilet paper at the start of the pandemic.
Ready to grow your small business?
With the right strategy, your business can reap the benefits of shopping local trends. Attend Business Mastery Virtual to learn Tony’s proven techniques.