Shopping Outside the Big Box Is on the Rise
Across the United States, the workplace is changing. 40% of workers sent home by the pandemic have decided to work from home rather than return to the office. Many are leaving major cities in favor of suburbs, rural areas, and small towns in search of smaller and closer-knit communities.
As more people work from home, they are taking advantage of the opportunity to explore and shop within their neighborhoods. Google reports that “near me” searches are up more than 50% and that 82% of consumers say they prefer to shop locally.
Benefits of Shopping Locally – Why Are People Choosing Local?
Shop Local is not just a popular hashtag. Social media and word of mouth are essential to small businesses, but there is much more to the local business movement than that.
Local businesses support local owners and employees and tend to support local manufacturing. Shopping closer to home conserves resources and cuts back on packing, shipping, and delivery waste. Many customers cite higher quality, unique products, and better service as reasons to stay local, too.
Consumers are realizing that shopping locally keeps significantly more of their money in their communities. Their tax revenues contribute to schools, parks, and other projects that benefit them.
Shopping Local vs. Shopping Corporate
A happy employee is a committed employee, and local businesses show a much higher level of employee commitment than do corporate big box stores or massive online retailers. This shows in customer service and community outreach.
Small, local businesses are linchpins of community attachment and sustainability. Quality is higher, and goods are more likely to be locally or regionally sourced, which is also more sustainable. Local businesses are also perceived as more reliable and more accountable to their communities.
Statistics on Shopping Locally – Look at the Numbers!
Last year, over a million online orders failed to appear during the holiday season. Statistics show that shopping locally has become much more of a priority for the American consumer.
- In 2020, 65% of American household budgets were spent in-store as opposed to online.
- 70% of Americans are already shopping local: 55% in-store and 15% online.
- 30% more shoppers bought local gift cards last holiday season.
- 68% of dollars spent locally stay local.
- “On my route” searches on Google maps are up 1000%.
Now more than ever, consumers are eager to spend locally. For the small business owner, there are several ways to make that happen.
How Local Business Can Connect with Customers
One of the most critical aspects of local business is community. Not only does the local business benefit from being a part of a community, but customers also appreciate feeling like a part of your community.
Communication is the key to maintaining that relationship. Neighbors want to support local businesses like yours, so staying in touch is essential. A two-way text program can be an important part of local marketing.
Tell customers about new products, specials, and loyalty programs. Let them know about new hours and new safety measures. In return, customers can offer you feedback, ask questions, and get advice on new purchases at your store.
Make sure that customers know that you are on their route and looking forward to seeing them. Keeping in touch with your customers helps you and them make the most of keeping business local.