With the holidays coming up, you’ll no doubt see reminders on social media about supporting local. We couldn’t agree more. We’re a local company with more than 95 per cent of our business coming from within 200 kilometres of Red Deer. We rely heavily on the local market.
In the same way there’s a difference between buying from the big faceless department store and the local mom and pop retail store downtown, there’s a difference between shopping online at Amazon (or other big centralized market stores) and independent sellers with their websites or Etsy stores.
Retail has changed. Malls are dying, and the mom and pop stores are increasingly closing their physical doors. The good news is that many of these “little guys” are adapting. People who once would have needed a physical space to sell their products are now selling online and can reach a much larger audience, as a result. People either needed to find the right product for their market or the right market for their product. With the internet, the whole world is that market, and it’s safe to say someone out there is going to want what you’re selling.
The hard part about trying to shop local on the internet is figuring out who is local. Just searching Google for the product name is likely going to come up with the big-name retailers first. Even adding ‘Red Deer’ (or wherever you’re located) to your search query will likely still return not-so-local results, especially in the paid ads at the top. You may have to dig a little deeper than the front page to find what you’re looking for.
The more niche the product, the broader you may have to look. You may not find someone in Red Deer who sells the product, but maybe in Edmonton or Calgary, or sometimes other parts of Canada. You may not be supporting local directly, but you’re still supporting an independent artisan or business person instead of a conglomerate. You might have to pay a few more bucks for shipping over the big guys, but it’s worth it.
The disadvantage of shopping online, instead of in a store, is shipping time. There’s no instant gratification of walking out of the store, product in hand. The good news is shipping these days has gotten better and a lot more streamlined. When we build an eCommerce site for a client, we’re able to directly integrate with the shipping companies to create shipping labels and even estimate how many items can fit in a box right from the website’s dashboard. It’s much quicker for companies to process orders these days and if you’re buying from a relatively local online store, it should only take a couple days for the item(s) to get to you.
This Christmas, remember to think about the local shops that are online as well.
If you’re looking to take your local store online, give us a call or email. We’re happy to help make it happen.