Shop Local Ohio
By Mike Leffler
With the Holiday shopping season in full swing it is understandable that the “shop local” movement receives even more attention during this time of the year. In 2015, virtually everyone in the United States does some to all of their product research online. Almost 95% of purchases, however, are still made in brick and mortar stores. Even when a shopper visits a brand’s website, 98% of the time the shopper will leave without making a purchase. Recent studies show that for every $100 we spend at local businesses, $73 stays in our community’s economy, and $27 leaves our community. Alternatively, for every $100 we spend at large, national businesses, $43 stays in our local economy, and $57 leaves.
Searches with local intent are more likely to lead to store visits and sales within a day. New Google research says that 50% of mobile users are most likely to visit after conducting a local search, while 34% of consumers on tablets or computers will go to a store. And Google says these people are ready to buy once they are in a store, as 18% of local searches lead to sales, compared to 7% for non-local searches.
What Google found was that four out of five people surveyed used search engines to conduct local searches. While 88% used smartphones, 84% used a computer or tablet.
Consumers said they would buy in the store versus online if they knew they were close to a store (30%), could get the product quickly (35%), or saw better pricing (31%).
That’s why Appalachian Outfitters has teamed up with Locally.com. With Locally.com, customers can do their online searches, reviews and product research. They can also find up to date inventory directly on the retailer’s web site, http://www.appalachianoutfitters.com/appalachian-outfitters-store/. Then, when they’re ready to buy, sites powered by Locally.com can show the consumer all the retailers within their geographic area that have that exact product in stock.
Several major brands such as Osprey packs, CamelBak, and Lowa footwear have enabled “Find It Locally” buttons on their websites. Additionally, Locally.com uses the manufacture’s own data files to ensure product accuracy. These files are matched with the individual retailer’s actual on hand inventory that is uploaded to Locally.com, in some cases, several times a day. This allows Locally.com to inform the consumer if the exact product they are searching for is available, sometimes literally “right down the street.” Shoppers may also request that the product they want be placed on hold at the store and they can even initiate a chat session with store staff.
But how does our local shopping help our community in other ways?
Create More Jobs
When we shop locally, entrepreneurs are able to offer jobs to others by hiring plumbers, electricians, and other service providers from their local communities. Where we spend our money makes a significant difference in whether local businesses flourish or close.
Invest In Your Community
Local businesses are significantly more generous when they contribute to local charities, schools, and community activities. Studies show that non-profit groups receive an average of 250% more contributions from small, local businesses than large, national companies. Our money has three times more impact on local communities than it does at national stores; we sustain city services through sales tax (which is later used for police and fire protection, road work, and trash removal), we improve local living standards, and we support community development.
Many times we go to national stores because we think they’re the only ones offering the products we want. What we don’t realize is that local stores have a wider selection of products in stock, and they intentionally meet the needs of local customers.
Save Your Money
We are so inundated with advertisements about sales at national stores that we forget our local businesses offer even better prices. After adding our travel time and expenses, the fees national businesses pay to transport items, and the environmental harm from transferring those items, the overall price of products at national stores are more expensive than shopping locally. Also, when we shop at local stores, we are more likely to buy what we need, not just what the advertisements tell us we want, increasing our likelihood of staying within our budgets.
Better Customer Service
Because local businesses rely on good rapports with repeat customers from their communities, they have remarkable service, even providing specialized services. Knowledgeable entrepreneurs know their industries and their products better than national companies.
Build Your Support System
In our transient society, the average American moves more than 11 times throughout their lives. This makes our lives more impersonal and lonely. We don’t realize that the connections we seek are immediately available in our local communities – shopping at local stores introduces you to local people, broadening your experiences and building a network of people you can rely on.
SHOP LOCAL OHIO