The pandemic has had unprecedented effects on practically every aspect of our lives, but it’s safe to say that its effects have been immensely disproportionate. While bigger businesses generally have access to more resources that can help them stay in business during this crisis, small local businesses have struggled to stay afloat. While many consumers are aware of this and are rallying to support their local retailers, others are reluctant to do the same.
According to a recent survey, convenience, variety, and price are the top three reasons consumers continue to support bigger retailers. Buying local also tends to be expensive, which is even more unfortunate during a pandemic given that many are struggling with finances and job security.
Local businesses are at the heart of a community’s culture and livelihood. And we can take this completely for granted. Sometimes we don’t even realize how much your small-time neighborhood coffee shop really means to you until one day you walk past to find that it’s closed its doors forever. Products and services from such businesses can range from food and handcrafted products to insurance marketing solutions and basement remodeling.
Consumer interest in local businesses has risen during the pandemic. According to a survey by Nextdoor, 72 percent of community members believe that they will visit and support more local businesses post-COVID. Millennials are more supportive of small and local businesses and are willing to spend more on ethically and sustainably sourced products. Here are some reasons to support local businesses.
Good for the local economy
The pandemic’s impact has been unequal – some industries are suffering more than others, and some businesses are struggling more than others. Supporting local businesses is an act of solidarity. It’s good for the local workers and economy as you are helping people keep their jobs.
Many people have launched small businesses or started a freelance trade during the pandemic to have another source of income. Self-employment also offers more flexibility in terms of both workload and working hours as compared to full-time jobs.
Local businesses are also likely to work in collaboration with fellow local businesses. For example, a local restaurant may be getting their fresh food supply from local farmers.
Products from small businesses are unique
Have you noticed that the branding of global companies all looks the same now? The thing about larger companies is that once they’ve found security, they’re less likely to take risks in terms of image. This is why so many brand logos look the same. But you won’t find that in small local businesses. Their products are made with care by the craftsmen who pour their skill and creativity into them.
It’s better for the environment
Locally sourced products mean a much smaller carbon footprint attached to these products because they didn’t travel thousands of miles to reach you. And if the products are food products, buying local also guarantees that they’ll be fresher.
What can local businesses do to draw in more support and resources during the pandemic?
With consumers valuing safety and convenience over everything else at the moment, local retailers have to give them just that to draw them in and keep them. Offering free, contactless delivery and curbside pickup are consumer picks for hassle-free claiming methods.
How to support local
There’s more to supporting local businesses than just buying from them. Buying gift cards is a good way to show your support, and giving them to your friends and family will let them know about the brand.
If you’re ordering online, make it a point to make your payments as early as you can. Paying early might not make much of a difference for you as a consumer, but for local business owners, it can mean knowing that they’ll be able to feed their families that day.
Lastly, a social media shoutout is always helpful. It’s free, and not only does it let the brand reach the awareness of your friends and family, but it’s also another way to show your gratitude to the business owner.
The effects of the pandemic have been immensely uneven, especially about large and small businesses. While larger retailers have been better off due to their access to more resources, small businesses are in survival mode. To bring in more customers, they need to offer safe and convenient delivery methods such as free, contactless delivery and curbside pickup. But luckily enough, many consumers report a desire to support more small local businesses during this time. This will benefit not just the business owners but also the local economy as well as the environment.