Shopping local has become the new norm. At the onset of the pandemic, small businesses suffered great losses. Many were forced to close down due to their inability to adapt. The few that remained operational realized how difficult it was to stay afloat.
Then, the shop local movement received a lot of support. Towards the latter half of such an unfortunate year, countless consumers rallied behind small businesses. Despite all the negativity that the pandemic brought, one thing it did right was to help nurture community-building.
Keep It Close
The sudden outbreak of a global pandemic forced a lot of drastic changes on all of us. Sheltering-in-place and lockdowns were implemented as safety measures. Work-from-home arrangements and online schooling became common. Consumer habits also went through some unexpected adjustments.
A lot of people shifted to buying local for the proximity. More than that, it helped them to foster a connection with the people in their immediate community. This helped relieve the feeling of isolation most of them felt after extensive months of being cooped up.
The motivations for shopping locally can vary from person to person. Some find it more convenient, while others think it’s generally safer. Regardless, there are also multiple benefits to be gained from supporting local businesses.
Stimulate Local Economy
The money that you’re choosing to spend on small businesses goes directly to your local community. At a time filled with uncertainties, this simple act helps a lot of locals keep their jobs. It could even lead to more jobs, which is extremely important as mass unemployment becomes rampant.
When you buy from small businesses, at the very least, you’ll know who and where your money goes to. A lot of local shops also sell their products at a lower price compared to chain stores. You can be sure that there’ll be a lot more diversity and uniqueness if you buy local.
One of the things that people have become more careful about is how they buy their food. Are the products clean? Is it healthy? How long has it been on the shelf? These are all questions that people are worried about, especially within the context of a pandemic. Local groceries are fresher and cleaner.
Community groceries usually get their produce straight from the source. This means that a lot fewer hands have touched them and the travel time is a lot less. Groceries could even be selling desert spices or other exotic ingredients, and you can be sure that they came straight from small-time farmers.
Supporting local businesses doesn’t only help your community but the environment as well. Having a booming domestic economy can open up avenues for shops to collaborate. This can have significant effects on their environmental footprint.
It helps them cut down on many simple costs like packaging and transportation, which can produce a lot of waste. The packaging alone uses a lot of plastic or other materials that are usually harmful to the environment. Emissions from travel are also one of the biggest factors contributing to the climate crisis.
A lot of big chain stores usually have a lot more employees and customers to deal with. This makes their interactions with one another a lot less genuine and compassionate. Small businesses, on the other hand, have better customer service overall.
Local shops generally receive fewer customers. Each person that supports their products and services is made a priority. Contacting them for any questions or concerns is easier to do. While customer acquisition is a good indicator of growth, small businesses usually value customer retention more.
A Face to Go With
Small business owners make it a point to have a lot of face-to-face interactions with their customers. Getting to interact with owners can allow you to get to know more about their business. What their goals, initiatives, and plans are for the community.
This helps to humanize businesses in a lot of ways. Knowing more about their vision and supporting it will provide you with a sense of fulfillment. You’re connecting with your community and being a catalyst for change at the same time.
Small Communities, Big Moves
While business giants have dominated the markets for the longest time, it’s been observed that approximately 70% of Americans are more inclined to support local businesses. This surge happened in the midst of a global pandemic.
The rise of e-commerce is one of the biggest factors contributing to the increase. Demand for one-click orders and same-day deliveries spiked at the height of lockdowns. Local stores played an essential role in ensuring that people within their community received what they needed.
Small businesses are at the heart of any community. You could be buying local for economic reasons, a way to connect with people, or just pure support. Whatever your reasons may be, it’s all for a good cause at the end of the day.