Shop Local Online
As online shopping becomes more and more popular, it’s important not to leave small businesses behind.
You don’t have to give up the comfort of your couch at home to keep crucial dollars in your hometown economy. Here’s how to shop local on the web.
Study Up Before You Buy
It’s easy to assume that the only place to get a certain online item is from a major retailer. In fact, that’s exactly what their massive advertising campaigns are meant to convey. But plenty of small businesses, and even mom-and-pop stores, have an online shop. Start by searching for the item you’d like to buy coupled with the name of your city or town. Local websites will typically include online shopping access, in addition to standard information about their brick-and-mortar operation like operating hours.
WHAT ABOUT AMAZON?
Did you know you can even shop regionally-local on Amazon? Just click on the site’s Support Small page. Nearly two million small- and medium-sized American businesses listed their products there according to Amazon’s Small Business Impact Report. There are many Tennessee-based businesses selling their products on Amazon. And don’t forget about Etsy.com, which is not just an online store for small businesses, but it’s for home-based businesses too.
MAP OUT YOUR PURCHASE
Most local businesses maintain a presence on Instagram or Facebook, so they can always be searched for when you’re using those apps. But what if you’re new to town, or want to branch out of your immediate neighborhood to shop local? Try Google or Apple Maps, where you can enter search terms that will then render area options with specified route information to get you there fast.
PAYING IT FORWARD
Once you’ve found a cool new local spot, it’s time to spread the news. Word of mouth helps small businesses survive since they don’t often have a huge budget for ad buys. A positive review, on their website or elsewhere on the internet, makes sure that the next person hoping to shop locally finds them a whole lot easier.
If you find yourself taking a picture of your new find, be it a special gift you received, a great meal or a professional service remember to tag the local business on social media. You’re helping boost their business while strengthening our local economy.