- Think local before purchasing anything.
- There are many websites to help you find shops in your community.
- There is a positive snowball effect you trigger when buying local.
It is no mystery that the current international scenario has brought a huge challenge for small businesses. Book stores, coffee shops, offices, you name it. In every industry, there has been an impact, but there is still a lot we all can do to help them.
Star with your own community
If buying local is all about your community, a great way to start is through Nextdoor. This website not only connects neighbors but also local businesses and nonprofits, sending you updates and recommendations tailored to where you live.
Then do some research
Spending some time researching can narrow down your options and make your life much easier when choosing where to support local next. There are plenty of websites and ideas to help you out. We selected a few for you.
One of them is Independent We Stand. They have created a database of small businesses across the U.S., so you can pick different options depending on where you are. Worth checking it out.
In an interview for the NY Times, their managing partner, Bill Brunelle, shared, “If you buy at a hardware store, that owner may hire a local accountant, while the employees may go to local restaurants and other nearby stores. The success of one business can steamroll through the economy.”
Other initiatives are more focused on certain industries but still serve the same purpose. Like the website Bookshop. As the name suggests, it is a great place to find local bookstores and deals to feed your imagination while helping your community.
Similar to Bookshop is a marketplace called Alibris. They have been in business for almost 25 years and have connected thousands of independent sellers to millions of buyers, with a huge selection of titles.
Shop clothing brands in your community
Another really cool initiative is a website called Rags. They have a very good selection of clothing brands from the U.S. and other countries. You can even filter by different styles, like vintage, surf, and business.
Social support online
One thing about shopping online that is still an important factor to a lot of users out there is reading other users’ reviews. For big brands, some users may see a five-star review and think that something doesn’t smell quite right.
However, for small businesses, writing a positive and honest review can be a game-changer. This important feedback doesn’t have to be necessarily done after purchasing a product on their website.
You can always find their Instagram account and leave a comment on a post about what you bought, sharing with other potential customers how that product helped you, or maybe how their customer service was really proactive.
Business owners of tiny brands are fighting for each transaction and your review, follow, comment, and like can make a huge difference at the end of the month for them.
The gift of encouragement
If you already support your community but you still feel the need to do more and spread the love for local, sharing your favorite places and brands with family and friends is a very good start.
The good ol’ word of mouth has never failed anybody. What is arguably the most powerful marketing tool out there can be an ally in your quest for creating awareness for any local business in your area.
If just sharing an address is not enough, maybe you can introduce your loved ones by inviting them for a coffee or to grab a bite at a local bakery. It is a chance to spend some time with them and also broaden their horizon and passion for local businesses.
However, we understand that this is not always an easy task. Maybe your family is used to always go to the same restaurant and your friends usually buy their shoes online, so you might have to give them a little push.
That can be done in the form of a gift card. This very simple and effective gesture is a great way to ensure your money is going to the right place at the same time you encourage your social circle to visit and get to know better the places you love. It is a win-win.
Go for a walk
It might sound silly, but going for a walk can be a great way to support small businesses in your community. That’s because the recent global situation has impacted companies differently. Some stores you were used to seeing in your city or neighborhood might not be there anymore.
However, those who have endured these harsh times can become your new to-go areas for certain products. Maybe this is a chance to get a coffee in a shop you have never visited, or you can meet the owner of a small hardware store around the corner you never took the time to check out.
Kindness and knowledge
Another priceless contribution you can give to local businesses is your time. If you are a specialist in an area that might help small brands in your neighborhood, it would be a huge deal for them if you could offer your knowledge, skills, and a few hours of your week to help them improve their service, management, or even just the website.
Your kindness is obviously always helpful. During these trying times, owners and employees are all going through some kind of struggle. Therefore, it makes their day much easier and better if you can share your compassion not only in a monetary form but also being extra kind when interacting with these people. After all, you are one community.
Also, don’t forget to bring your mask with you, so you can safely visit multiple times all these businesses you are willing to support. Your community and city appreciate your effort. Have fun with your findings!
That’s all folks! Stay tuned for our next publiCATTions.