How to Encourage Customers to Support Local

In response to the hardships of the Covid-19 pandemic on small businesses, we have seen a rising trend of local support all over the world. However, many consumers still opt for the affordability and convenience of megacorporations such as Amazon and Walmart – who’s revenue has been soaring since the pandemic.

But how can we convince our costumers to choose local over the convenience of big retail chains? We know why small businesses are so essential to the community – but do our customers know?

1. Make it as convenient as possible

Consumers shop online because it’s the most convenient option. 

That means to encourage them to shop locally, we have to make it as convenient as possible, or show them that shopping at Amazon isn’t the only convenient option.

Think about the benefits of shopping local. One of the most significant benefits is time. When shopping online, consumers may have to wait weeks or even months for their packages to arrive! If they buy from a local shop, they’ll have their purchase that same day.

If your local customers are shopping through your online store, offering free local pickup and delivery for your customers will make shopping with your business much more convenient. 

 For more about operating an online store during Covid-19, read our guide on how to set up your first online store, our guide to improving your online store, or our guide to keeping your business thriving during Covid-19.

2. Lead by example

If you want others to support local, you need to lead by example. If you’re trying to convince your shoppers to support local, but you can’t be bothered to do the same, your message will ring hollow. 

Instead, be the change you want to see, and try to make your shopping trips as local as possible. 

And this leads us into our next point.

3. Be vocal about it

Don’t be afraid to be vocal about your local support! Showcase your shopping trips on social media to inspire all of your customers to follow your example. Engage other local businesses by tagging them in your posts, or engage with your customers by encouraging them to post about your products and services and tag you! Don’t be afraid to share their posts about your business. Help create the conversation around supporting local, and make it seem like a cool thing to do.

4. Team up with other local businesses

Partner up with fellow local businesses by planning an event together, hosting pop-up shops in each other’s locations, or by putting together a giveaway (just as a few examples). 

It’s a great opportunity to discover new customers who otherwise may not have come across your business and expand your brand awareness, and it’s an exciting incentive for shoppers to shop locally.

5. Show why you’re unique

Showcase why your business stands out from the competition. 

Encouraging consumers to shop locally isn’t enough to get them to patronize your business. 

What makes your business different from the competition? Is your spectacular customer service? Is it the supreme quality of your handmade products? Is it the inaccessibility of your products, which can’t be bought in many stores? 

Whatever it is, make sure you show it off. Tell everyone why you’re special, and why they should choose you over competing businesses.

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