The past years have been hard for everyone. The pandemic forced people to stay home and for local businesses to shut down. While some shutdowns were temporary, some local businesses were shut down for good.
The way we approach our lives after the pandemic has drastically changed, especially in eCommerce. How we shop has rapidly evolved to adapt to the new normal, and its effect has also forced most local business to up their game. Some have introduced alternative ways to offer their products or come up with different marketing strategies to keep serving their customers even if they're shut down from their homes.
What's surprising is that communities also stepped up and started supporting local business. According to recent research, 79% of those who support local business did so to protect their communities. People know that not only do they, themselves, need help, but also everyone within their community, including local business.
Why do you need to support local business?
Whether we admit it or not, local business are crucial elements of the economic and social fabric of our community. We need to support local business.
Here are four compelling reasons why you should support your local business:
1. Local business create a positive impact in the local economy.
Some companies start in their garage or in antique houses. They create an ecosystem that support small business within their community. For example, a local artisan coffee shop supports coffee farmers within their community (if there are any) and creates jobs for other members of the community.
When you support your local business, your money stays within your community and helps local development. Using the same artisan coffe shop as an example, they will hire a local design firm when they build their store. The coffee shop will also be supporting local business if they buy their produce from locals. It's a symbiotic relationship that exists and helps everyone prosper.
2. Local business support communities by creating jobs.
Small businesses cannot thrive without employees. They probably wouldn't hire someone from outside the community but would instead hire people who live within.
The government also encourages the creation of "hubs" for local businesses where they can set up shop and thrive. These become tourist attractions which also help adjacent hotels and other establishments.
3. Local business are sustainable shopping alternatives.
Most local business have a shorter manufacturer-to-consumer journey. What this means is that small business (or at least most of them) can. offer better transparency with their ingredients, materials, and other sources that are included in the products that you buy.
Since most local businesses manufacture locally and in smaller quantities, you actually purchase more quality goods than those offered in commercial chain retailers. For them, it's always about quality vs. quantity.
4. Local business prioritize their customers.
Large commercial brands offer a different intimacy of personalized shopping than local business. Since these companies are small, you might be shopping, and the owner assists you.
Local business also offers diversity and uniqueness. Their products are their own and are not mass-produced. If you buy a shirt from them, you can be sure that only around five will have the same shirt as yours.
10 Ways to Support Local Business
Small business owners always love what they do, else they wouldn't even be putting up their own business. They play an important role in enriching our communities and providing a hometown feel that we're all familiar with.
Every small business in your community relies on you to help keep them afloat during these difficult times. When you spend money on local business, you don't know it, but you get plenty of benefits as well.
Here are ten creative ways how you can support local business and help keep your community thriving:
1. Actively search and discover new brands
You can use your phone to search for "support local business near me," and you'll probably get the right hits for the nearest local brands in your community. When you're out for the grocery, stop looking at your phone and look around. What haven't you noticed before?
There probably was a new lifestyle store beside your favorite dry cleaner. Or maybe there's a new tea shop around the block.
2. Order from local restaurants and shops.
Instead of purchasing from chain restaurants or flower shop franchises, try checking for delivery options from local businesses at your place.
Other shops may also be delivery options like local toy stores, clothing boutiques, or bookstores. You'll never know what you're missing.
3. Share local restaurant menus on your social media pages.
If you've been to one local restaurant, support local business by sharing their menu and a good review on your social media. Word-of-mouth marketing is something that would definitely contribute hugely to supporting local business.
4. Buy gift cards or credits for later.
During the pandemic, a lot of shops pushed gift cards to encourage their customers to go back to their stores until their doors open. When you can, buy gift cards or give them out as gifts to friends during the holidays.
Gift cards are perfect to introduce your favorite shops to friends and family. It's also a great way to support your local business through valuable, organic marketing.
5. Consider and rethink your budget.
When you purchase from local business, you'll probably spend more money compared to fast-fashion brands. One reason is that it's more expensive to produce high-quality garments ethically.
Think about it long-term. You're buying more quality garments that can last longer. And while you're doing that, you're also supporting local business. It's a definite win-win!
6. Tip a little more.
The pandemic has been brutal for service workers, especially those working hourly. Since people were confined at home and food delivery services have permeated our communities, the food service workers have yet to have the regular flow of tips they usually see on a Friday night.
If you're dining out, tip a bit more generously. It can go far for people working in the restaurant.
7. Don't forget to leave a positive review online.
This is something that's totally free and will only take a few minutes of your time to support local business. It's also a bonus that posting your review will be impactful for the local business.
Small businesses rely heavily on reviews to get more customers. If you're on Google and you're looking for a restaurant, you'd rather go for a restaurant with five stars rather than those with two stars or none, right? Support your local business by giving them that five start that they deserve.
8. Sign up for their email list.
You have to remember that in every local business' email newsletter is an actual human who may even be the owner of the shop that you recently shopped for. Signing up for their email list screams, "I want to hear from you!" and that's just enough to support local business and warm their hearts.
If you're not big on emails, sign up for their SMS text messaging list. It may sometimes cram your inbox, but hey, it's just at least a text a week, right?
9. Engage with small businesses in other ways, not just shopping.
There are other ways to engage and support local business, like joining virtual classes for your local craft store. Some gyms have also offered online classes for those who can't join them physically.
Different shops have diversified and offered alternatives to their usual product offerings or services. Don't forget to take a minute and check what new things they offer.
10. Introduce them to Strikingly.
Image taken from Strikingly Product
Strikingly--we--are a website builder best fitted for small businesses. Why so, you ask?
- We offer a free forever option. If they're small and don't have enough funds, they can still create a website with us to kick off their online presence. When they're ready, they can go premium to get access to more features.
- They can get a free domain with a yearly plan. A free domain is perfect if they want to push their brand forward. Anyone who signs up for any of our yearly plans get a free domain for 1 year so they can personalize their URL.
We offer marketing tools inside our platform. It's an all-in-one tool for small businesses. They can send newsletters, add website pop-ups, booking sections, and more.
Image taken from Strikingly Product
- Strikingly is ridiculously easy to use. Yeah, we are like that. If you can use Powerpoint, you can navigate through Strikingly's website editor. We had one blind man create a website with us and aced his interview. It's that easy to use Strikingly.
Supporting local business also supports your community. Every support you can extend to local business is a big deal for every small-business owner. Every purchase you make helps them provide wages for their workers, keep the lights on for their business, and put food on their family's table.
We understand if it's more difficult for you to hunt down alternatives, especially if you like a specific brand. Don't worry--shifting to a local business is all worth it. You will not only discover new products, but you'll also be supporting your local economy and helping the next generation.