Online Shopping and Local Business
When we think of shopping local, we often think of the storefronts we walk past when we are in town, stalls at the local markets, or the pop-up shops in our shopping centers. These are indeed vital components of our local economy, but the landscape of local businesses is evolving. It's not just about what we see on the street, but also what's happening behind the screens of our computers and smartphones.
Not all businesses operating in our neighborhoods are locally owned. In today's world, even your corner store might be connected to a larger corporation, and some local businesses have extended their reach into the digital realm. This shift has changed the dynamics of local shopping, and it's important for consumers to understand the differences and make informed choices.
The Evolution of Online Shopping:
Online shopping has come a long way since its inception. In its early days, smaller businesses struggled to establish a web presence. Building an online store was an expensive endeavor, and the e-commerce market was dominated by giant retailers with extensive product catalogs, free shipping and competitive pricing. As a result, local businesses were often left behind.
Today, the landscape has shifted dramatically. The internet has become the go-to marketplace for businesses, including local ones. Many small businesses have embraced online shopping platforms, digital marketing, and social media to reach a bigger audience. This accessibility has allowed them to compete with the big players, offering unique products and personalised services.
Identifying True Local Businesses Online:
To support local businesses online, you need to distinguish between locally owned businesses and larger corporations with a local presence. Here are some tips:
Business Ownership: A quick Google search with the business name can reveal its ownership. For example, if you discover that a local business is attached to a massive multinational corporation, you may want to explore other options.
About Us Section: Most small businesses operating online have an "About Us" section on their websites. This section often tells the story of the business and its roots in the local community.
Contacting the Business: If you're unsure, don't hesitate to reach out and ask. Send them a message or an email to inquire about their ownership and location.
The Gray Area: Franchises:
It's worth noting that some businesses, like fast-food chains or stores like Red Dot, might be owned by local families but still operate under the umbrella of a larger company. In such cases, the profits may partially stay within the community, but a significant portion could flow back to the parent corporation.
The Power of Shopping Local:
When you understand the difference between local and non-local businesses, it becomes easier to make informed choices. Supporting local businesses, whether online or offline, is an investment in your community. For every dollar you spend at a local, independent business, a more substantial portion of that money circulates within your local economy. In contrast, when you shop at multinational stores, a significant portion of your money exits the country.
The way we shop locally has evolved. Online shopping doesn't have to mean sacrificing support for local businesses. By making informed choices, you can contribute to the vitality of your community and keep your dollars working closer to home.
Supporting local businesses, whether they operate on your street or in the digital realm, has a lasting impact on the vibrancy and resilience of your community. So, remember, the next time you click "add to cart," you have the power to make a difference in your neighborhood.
Looking for a local business?
Shop Local 6210 has an extensive referral database full of Mandurah-based local businesses to refer to local shoppers. You can tap into this by filling this request.
Alternatively, you can ask a community of local shoppers here.