The Benefits of Shopping Local

The holidays seemed to arrive at an extra-surprising pace this year then wrapped up just as quickly. Now that we’ve tucked our credit cards back securely in our wallets, it’s a good time to pause and consider the ways we shop, particularly where we shop.

The convenience of click-of-a-button e-commerce or the thrill of bargain hunting at large retailers can’t be denied, but visiting shops in our own communities during gift-giving season (or really, all year round) has proven benefits. Small Business Saturday was established in 2010 as a day for local small business patronage immediately following Black Friday, and though it’s officially a campaign of AmEx, anything that helps promote local business isn’t a bad thing. Plus, through the magic of marketing and social media, it’s taken on an identity of its own that extends far beyond the AmEx brand.

Why support local retailers?

  • It helps create jobs in the community
  • Your tax dollars stay local
  • Small businesses give back to the neighborhood
  • Small businesses offer more unique products

In working with different communities through a city entity, chamber of commerce or CVB, we’ve met many local business owners and heard the reason behind their small business starts and successes. We can attest first-hand — they really do benefit the overall community. How to incorporate small business in a community’s marketing efforts is a point of discussion for most of our projects.

How can CVBs or cities support shop local efforts?

  • Showcase local businesses prominently in marketing materials such as newsletters
  • Engage with local businesses on social media (like this)
  • Add local business owner profiles to the website
  • Help create and support holiday events that will drive people to an area where local businesses exist (like this)

The health of a community’s small businesses is a sign of its overall vibrancy, so it’s worth the investment of time and money. Plus, it can help attract residents, visitors and more businesses. Taking further steps to develop an actual shop local campaign can add to its success. Our friends in Round Rock rocked this game.

Early reports show that local spending was down for 2017’s Small Business Saturday, but the good news is that many of us are still engaged locally, so maybe some creative marketing is needed to boost the 2018 numbers!

Of course, we all need a mental break from anything holiday-related … but the shopping season starts again in just 10 months. Why not get your plans in place now to yield maximum benefits? Better yet, consider some campaigns to keep local retail healthy all year — we’re here to help!