With the busy holiday shopping season quickly approaching, it is understandable that the “shop locally” movement receives even more attention. Ideally, we should support our hometown businesses at all times, not just during the holidays.
Then, when they’re ready to buy, sites powered by Locally can show the consumer all the retailers within their local area that have the exact product in stores. Several major brands such as Osprey packs, Camelbak, and Lowa footwear have enabled “Find It Locally” buttons on their websites.
Locally also uses the manufacture’s own data files to ensure product accuracy. These files are matched with the retailer’s actual inventory and is uploaded to Locally several times a day. This allows customers to know that the product they want is available. They can even request that the product be placed on hold at the store by initiating a chat session with store staff.
There are many ways that shopping locally benefits customers, but how does it benefit the overall local economy?
Create More Jobs
When we shop locally, entrepreneurs are able to offer jobs to others by hiring plumbers, electricians, and other service providers from their local communities. Where we spend our money makes a significant difference in whether local businesses flourish or close.
Many times we go to national stores because we think they’re the only ones offering the products we want. What we don’t realize is that many times local stores have a wider selection of products in stock, and they intentionally meet the needs of local customers.
Build Support Systems
In our transient society, the average American moves more than 11 times throughout their lives. This makes our lives more impersonal and lonely. We don’t realize that the connections we seek are immediately available in our local communities – shopping at local stores introduces us to local people, broadening our experiences and building a network of people we can rely on.
We are so inundated with advertisements about sales at national stores that we forget our local businesses offer even better prices. After adding our travel time and expenses, the fees national businesses pay to transport items, and the environmental harm from transferring those items, the overall price of products at national stores are more expensive than the prices at local businesses.
Also, when we shop at local stores, we are more likely to buy what we need, not just what the advertisements tell us we want, increasing the likelihood that we stay within our budgets.
Experience Better Customer Service
Because local businesses rely on good rapports with repeat customers from their communities, they have remarkable service, even providing specialized services. Knowledgeable entrepreneurs know their industries and their products better than national companies.
Invest In Communities
Local businesses are significantly more generous when they contribute to local charities, schools, and community activities. Studies show that non-profit groups receive an average of 250% more contributions from small, local businesses than large, national companies.
Our money has three times more impact on local communities than it does at national stores;
- we improve local living standards,
- we support community development,
- and we sustain city services through sales tax, which is later used for police and fire protection, road work, and trash removal.
Recent studies show that for every $100 we spend at local businesses;
- $73 stays in our community’s economy,
- and $27 leaves our community.
In contrast, for every $100 we spend at large, national businesses;
- $43 stays in our local economy,
- and $57 leaves.
In 2015, virtually everyone in the United States does some or all of their shopping research online, but almost 95% of purchases are still made in brick and mortar stores; even when a shopper visits a brand's website, 98% of the time the shopper will leave without making a purchase.
Searches with local intent are more likely to lead to store visits and sales within a day. Google surveys show that four out of five people surveyed used search engines to conduct local searches, with 88% using smartphones and 84% using a computer or tablet. Out of these, 50% of mobile users are most likely to visit a store after conducting a local search, while 34% of consumers on tablets or computers will go to a store.
The data shows that 18% of local searches lead to sales, compared to 7% for non-local searches. Google says these people are ready to buy once they are in a store. The customers in the survey said that they would buy in the store versus online if they knew they were close to a store (30%), could get the product quickly (35%), or saw better pricing (31%). These are great reasons to shop locally!
Visit Locally For Appalachian Outfitters
Instead of shopping at national retailers this holiday season, take a look at our Appalachian Outfitters locally account. You won’t be disappointed!