Whether you missed “Small Business Saturday” or not, there are 364 other days a year for customers to support your local business. Why, in this age of massive online retailers and “big box” store chains, do your customers prefer to “Shop Local?” Here are the top three reasons.
Support the Local Economy
In recent years, locally owned businesses have sprung up everywhere. From craft breweries to vegan bakeries, more and more entrepreneurs are choosing to open a local business over buying a franchise or joining a large company. In fact, despite the uber-presence of Amazon.com, the number of independent bookstores has grown 25% since 2009.
It’s more than a “build it and they will come” philosophy. Millennials, in particular, value the idea of supporting the local economy. According to the G-Brief, “Millennials love their communities, and they love supporting them and that’s because they are communal by nature. Millennials are enamored with the familiar paths they walk en route to their well-frequented coffee shops. They love the individual spirit of locally-owned businesses and, especially, knowing that they have taken out their wallets for their community….”
Small is the New Big
Another reason customers love supporting your small business is that your smaller business is easier to do business with. Envision the difference between wandering the aisles of a huge warehouse-styled market trying to find the cheese aisle and tasting samples of artisanal cheese directly from the shopkeeper. Customers prefer shopping with convenience at a business that is close-by.
Research shows that US consumers would rather receive personalized attention and customer service than lower prices. In other words, your customers love to shop local because they know that the owner is accountable for what goes on in the business. You can’t very well pick up the phone and call the owner of Target, but you can easily contact the person who owns the coffee house on the corner.
What does this mean for you? It means that in order to keep attracting your local customers, remind them that they are supporting their local economy, resist the temptation to over-expand, and keep providing great customer service so that your customers have a personal relationship with you. After all, people do business with people (and businesses!) they like.