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The Importance of Shopping Local

Chris Allen

In the age of online retailing giants like Amazon and big-box stores like Walmart and Target, it can be challenging for small businesses to keep up. While online and big-box stores can present stiff competition for pricing and selection, there are many advantages for consumers to shop local businesses instead.

Benefits the local economy 
When consumers shop at a local business, more revenue stays in their region. As reported by USA Today, research firm Civic Economics found $68 out of every $100 spent at a local business stays in the community, compared to just $43 at a chain store. When consumers buy from an online store like Amazon, almost none of the revenue will be recirculated locally.(1) Locally spent money goes toward tax revenue, as well as creation of more jobs and local commerce. As an added benefit, when the local community becomes more desirable, home values typically increase. For any consumers concerned with their local economy, shopping local is a must.

Offers targeted products and services 
Local businesses have a better understanding of the local community, giving them insight into the wants and needs of local consumers. While chain stores have products that suit consumer needs across the country, only small businesses will understand the unique interests of their shoppers. For instance, in a region where all houses use a specific kind of vinyl siding, local hardware stores can stock the appropriate tools and materials to cater to this market. A local grocery store may stock organic items if customers have a specific interest in naturally-grown food. Local businesses are more likely to aim for niche markets, which makes these specific goods and services more accessible to consumers.

Unifies community shoppers 
To raise awareness of the benefits of shopping local, American Express instituted Small Business Saturday. This annual event, which falls this year on November, gives small businesses a chance to celebrate their local status and gain revenue from holiday shoppers.(2) In the 2014 holiday season, 88 million consumers turned out to support local businesses, an increase of almost 15 percent from the previous year. In addition, consumers spent more than $14 billion at local businesses in 2014, an increase of 2 percent from 2013.(3)

As a benefit to their communities and their shopping experience, consumers have significant reasons to shop local and direct their purchasing power towards their neighborhood businesses.

  1. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/small business/2014/11/21/small-business-strategies-shopping-local/19259277/
  2. https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/
  3. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/small-business-saturday-results-independent-businesses-make-strong-statement-to-start-the-holiday-shopping-season-2014-12-01

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