18 August 2021

Tales From the Online Marketing Crypt 8 – The Inconvenient Side Effect of the Shop Local Movement

What Local B2C Businesses Need to Focus on to Stay Open

Since COVID-19 barged in on our lives, there’s been a lot of rallying on social media about the #ShopLocal movement. I’ve been on that cheerleading team too-what about you?

But when push comes to shove, are you REALLY shopping local or just supporting from the sidelines while continuing to order from Amazon or some big-box store in a different country, capitalizing on all the juicy sales happening during the holiday season?

It’s OK. I think many of us are guilty, myself included.

Which leads me to why I’m writing this piece…

The dilemma of supporting local: sometimes it’s just not easy to do so.

The other day we needed a part for our BBQ. We called a few local stores, and no one carried the part we needed.

Amazon did. And we got it the next day.

Last Saturday I was bound and determined to support local businesses and set out to buy several gifts on my Christmas list.

In a nutshell, this is what I found:

I was gone for four hours, doing my best to support local but dang-it wasn’t convenient at all! Not to mention how exhausted I was by the time I got home.

Now in the spirit of full transparency, I did go to one big-box store and guess what?

No line-ups at the door due to the large store size.

I found exactly what I wanted.

I also found a 30% off coupon on my phone while standing in line that I used towards my purchase.

And I was in and out within a few minutes.

It’s tough for local small businesses to compete with that.

But they’re going to have to if they want to survive.

Big-box stores, including Amazon, offer the selection and competitive prices they do because they have the infrastructure to support those value-based initiatives.

And it’s not as if this is a part of any “new” economy either.

When I was a kid, we didn’t have the Internet, but we did have mail order. Remember that gloriously thick Sears Christmas Wish Book that came in the mail?

My Dad would sit with my brother and I as we pored through the toy section, circling our favourites with gleeful anticipation of what was to be opened on Christmas morning.

Mind you, the fulfillment of that wish list wasn’t as convenient as it is now.

Today the consumer just needs to shop from the comfort of their home and, voila! The presents arrive a few days later, ready to be wrapped and placed under the tree.

As a small business (particularly a brick-and-mortar one) how can you compete with that?

Here are a few ideas to consider:

Think in terms of value. What can you bring to the table that your customer can’t get at a big-box online store or at Amazon?

Consider these areas of focus for your customers:

Always be thinking about the perceived value your business offers as that’s what consumers are basing their purchasing decisions on.

For people to support the shop local movement, the products or services must be of equal or higher quality / value than what Amazon or other online big-box entities offer.

COVID-19 has most definitely made a huge impact on small businesses, especially the brick-and-mortar ones that rely on local customers. The ripple effect of this pandemic has already been-and will continue to be-enormous.

If there ever was a time to take a hard look at your business model, it’s now!

You need to find creative ways to go up against eCommerce sites, which are only going to become more and more prevalent-and competitive-as the pandemic drags on.

To your business success,



1. Article: The ‘shop local’ message is everywhere, but it’s tough resisting deals during a pandemic. By CBC News

2. Article: Wondering how to increase holiday sales with COVID-19 and what seasonal marketing strategy to use? Read 4 Tips to Market Your Small Business Locally (on our website)

3. Article: If you run a store-front business or offer a service within a geographic area, focus your website marketing efforts on local SEO techniques like these: How to Optimize Your Website for Local Search

4. Articles: How to Shop Locally and Responsibly During COVID-19 and 5 Benefits of Shopping Local by Small Business BC.

Source by Susan Friesen

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