How to Support Local Retailers in 2020
2020 has brought some unique challenges to small local retailers. To get through this time, retailers need the same thing they always need to succeed: the support of their local community. In this guide, we’ll discuss a few reasons why you should support local businesses and how to do it.
Five Reasons to Support Local Businesses
You might be wondering why supporting local businesses matters to begin with. When you support local stores, you can:
1. Stimulate Your Local Economy
One simple reason everyone should consider supporting local businesses in their area is because it stimulates the local economy. Would you rather walk down the street and see empty storefronts with For Rent or For Sale signs posted or a thriving network of local businesses? Great local businesses can draw people to live, work and visit in your town, which will continue to help your community thrive economically. This means more economic opportunity for everyone in your city or town.
2. Discover Unique Products
Big box retailers and chains can start to get old over time. Even as new products come in, you may feel that the choices are generic. When you want to discover something truly unique, local businesses are a great option. For instance, if you want to find an original piece of decor for your home, shopping at your local antique store or art gallery can feel like a treasure hunt.
3. Enjoy Personalized Customer Service
Who doesn’t appreciate great customer service? Some national and regional chains offer adequate customer service, but we’ve all experienced the frustration of being put on hold or passed around from one customer service rep to another without feeling truly heard. With a local business, you can enjoy a more personal and direct connection with the business and take up any concerns you run into with the business owner or manager directly. Local business owners are highly motivated to offer exceptional customer service.
4. Keep the Market Competitive
When you support small businesses, grocery, liquor and tobacco stores in your town and help them stay competitive, larger chains will have to maintain high standards to stay in business. Competition in a market is great for consumers, too. It means business owners are motivated to innovate, keep costs low, impress their customers and, ultimately, convince you to patronize their business instead of another one.
5. Support Local Entrepreneurs and Employees
Local retail stores are often run by entrepreneurs who are striving to provide for their families and achieve their American dream. When a local entrepreneur succeeds, it can inspire others to share their talents and open a business as well. Local businesses also create jobs for people in your community, even the ones that stay small. In 2015, firms with fewer than 20 employees added more jobs than any other small business size. To support local businesses is to support your local workers and entrepreneurs and help them succeed.
Five Practical Ways to Support Local BusinessesHere are five ways you can help your local retailers:
1. Be a Loyal Customer
One of the best ways to help a local business is to become a regular customer. For example, if there’s a locally-owned grocery store that carries items you need for your favorite ethnic dish, then shop there regularly instead of at the chain down the street. It’s also a good idea to see if they have a loyalty program. Some small businesses will reward your loyal business just like the chains can, so you can enjoy special discounts.
2. Purchase Gift Cards
For some local retailers, the events of 2020 have meant they’ve had to close their doors temporarily. How can you support a business when you can’t take advantage of their services or buy their products? One great solution is to purchase gift cards. This will add to the business’s cash flow now and allow you to make purchases later. Even when businesses are open, purchasing gift cards for family or friends is a great way to support a local business and encourage others to become repeat customers.
3. Leave a Positive Review
In a 2019 survey, 36% of the respondents reported that they always read online reviews to determine the quality of a business. While many people rely on reviews to choose where they’ll shop or dine, too many people never think to leave a review to help others out. If you have a positive experience at a local store, leave a review online and help build their positive reputation.
4. Give Them a Shout Out on Social Media
If you’re enjoying browsing at a local tobacco shop with your friend, or you just got an amazing deal on avocados at your local grocery store, why not take a minute to give that local business a shout out on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or whatever social media platforms you use? Tag the business in your post, so your friends and followers can easily find their social media page.
5. Take Advantage of Delivery or Pickup Services
Many small, independent retailers that have had to close their storefronts due to health restrictions this year, have added features like curbside pickup and delivery services, so they can continue to serve their communities and keep their businesses running. Some stores integrate with a special shopping app that links to their checkout register, so that customers can easily order ahead. Taking advantage of these services can allow you to patronize your local businesses even if you are not able to or would rather not visit them in person due to health concerns.
Business Owners: How to Increase Local Business
Business owners can also do their part to get more local business this year. Here are a few of the ways you can help your business attract and keep customers:
Take Your Local Business to the Next Level With NRS
At National Retail Solutions, helping small businesses is central to our mission. One way we do that is with our POS+, an all-in-one POS system that can help you run your business and make checkout a breeze. Now more than ever, it’s critical that you have the tools you need to support your business. Learn more about our POS system for retail stores.