Shop Local – Let’s ALL Live it!

There are two sides to the “shop local” discussion: the business side and the customer side. In a thriving community, the two align. We all want our communities to grow.

Customers are driven to the big-box stores and to online options for convenience, price, and because they cannot find what they need locally. They are driven to local businesses for service, problem-solving, and convenience in another way. Knowledgeable employees can help find the right thing faster. And if it’s not right, they are likely to make it right, faster.

Business owners and employees need to be customer-focused and easy to work with. We need to listen to what customers say and work hard to meet their needs. Our prices need to be competitive, but it’s not the deal breaker if we excel in other respects. We need to offer what they cannot find at a big box-store or online. Give customers a reason to shop local. How do we do that?

1. Create an experience. Make it enjoyable to come to your store.
2. Try to remember the names of repeat customers. Welcome them back!
3. Listen to what they need and help them find it – even if you don’t have it. And consider having it the next time or for the next customer who may need the same thing.

Customers with a shop-local focus can be great assets for a business. In addition to simply spending dollars locally, as customers, we can help small businesses grow with our knowledge. Here’s what we can do as customers:

1. Let them know if there is a product you buy elsewhere that you would buy from them if they had it.
2. Tell them what you like about their store or businesses.
3. Learn their name. And stop in sometimes just to chat a few minutes. They may be having a slow day and feeling a little discouraged.

Shop Local is a collaborative effort. We grow our community together. It’s fun to be a part of making something grow. A huge thank you to all of you who are investing in our local communities as both business owners and as customers!! #ShopLocal – let’s all LIVE it, every day!

Written by Blog Contributor: Holly L. Gibbons