Reasons to Shop Local
One of the best things you can do for your community to buy local.
With the infiltration of the internet and the shopping opportunities brought about by businesses like Amazon, more and more people are doing their shopping online. Hey, I’m guilty of it myself. I shop online almost every single day (I really like to shop) but I’ve learned a few things over the past month or so about the perils inherent to buying something sight unseen. Not all products use the same sizing measurements. My daughters have a new wardrobe thanks to all of the things I ordered for myself that came in 6 sizes too small for me. I bought my husband a drone for his birthday but didn’t read the fine print. It looked really big in the picture, but the dang thing fits in the palm of my hand.
I’m sure lots of people have had similar and even worse experiences which is why I recently had an epiphany. I’ve come to the conclusion that online shopping can be okay for certain things, but for others, not so much. There really is a compelling reason to buy from a local vendor. Especially if you’re considering a monumental purchase like a POS system.
Purchasing something that essential to your business cannot be taken lightly and deserves your time and attention. With so many big companies out there selling plug and play POS systems, a little warning is in order. There are just some things that you need to see and touch and feel before you decide to invest in them. Buying a POS system from an online provider is rife with things that could go wrong.
You’re best bet with any major purchase is to try it out, meet with someone who knows about all about it, and make sure that it’s going to meet your needs and help your business grow. That’s why I present to you these five reasons why you should buy your Point of Sale system locally.
Reason #1: Community
I’m familiar with the “Shop Local” movement. They’re always talking about how buying local is good for the community and supports local merchants, especially farmers. I always liked that idea but didn’t find it compelling enough to persuade me to heed their advice. That was until I learned a few more ways that buying locally benefits me, as a part of a local community.
For every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, $73 of it remains in the community. This has a direct impact on everyone in that area. Community wealth is increased, tax revenues go up, and the standard of living increases. This can mean more or better schools, libraries, and other services for the community. Jobs are created locally and more families thrive.
One of another neat thing that happens when you shop locally is that you get to meet unique and knowledgeable people in your community who know your particular market. A local business owner is likely to know what local merchants want and need and will keep them in stock.
Reason #2: Expertise
Local merchants are passionate about the products and services they offer. Like all small business owners, they started out because they wanted to offer something to the community that they felt strongly about. Their enthusiasm about their products makes them more likely to keep up with the latest industry trends and to constantly learn new ways to implement strategies that will help other small business owners. These owners take a consultative approach and act as trusted advisors to the communities in which they serve. They are interested in customer service and repeat customers so they take the time to listen to your hopes, dreams, challenges, and needs. This enables them to use their expertise to create workable solutions that can be modified over time as your business grows.
Reason #3: Service
A local business owner is the most likely person to value exceptional customer service. That’s their ace in the hole when it comes to competing with big box stores. These guys (and girls) know their stuff and make it a priority to educate and take care of their customers. Not only do they want you to be happy and successful, they will actually partner with you to assess your needs and come up with the best possible solutions.
This kind of service doesn’t stop after the sale. Having a local team at your disposal comes in very handy when something goes wrong. Equipment gets old, sometimes it breaks. It’s nice to be able to call someone who is just around the corner to come out on a service call instead of dealing with an 800 number and waiting on replacement parts or units to ship. Local business owners pride themselves on building lasting relationships with their customers and this is just one in which they do it. They are there, week in and week out, ready to be of assistance.
Reason #4: Brick & Mortar
As I’ve said before, online shopping is tempting, but there’s a lot to be said about being able to go into a local establishment and actually see and put your hands on something that you are considering buying. Local merchants are happy to give you free demonstrations and tutorials on how to use their products. Just by having a building, they establish themselves as more dependable and less likely to go out of business anytime soon.
Whether you’re brand new to an industry or have been at it for a while, locally stocked showrooms are great for learning and for seeing what’s going on with the current technology. Maybe you didn’t even know you needed something until you saw and heard about it in a local store.
Reason #5: Respect
Respect is a two-way street. Small business owners are happy to help other business owners grow because they can relate to the dedication and passion that goes into running a small operation. They also want to see their community prosper. When you deal with a local merchant, you can rely on the fact that they are going to take the time to listen to you. Instead of trying to sell you something you don’t need, they are going to respect you enough to only offer what they think you actually need to make your business thrive.
Once you’ve dealt with someone like this, who treats you with respect and care, you’ll never want to go back. Chances are that the respect and service they provide to you will cause you to also have a great deal of respect for them. Not only for their knowledge of your industry and their products, but for going the extra mile to see you succeed.
Taking all of this in, it’s easy to see how these stores stay around despite being small and local. They truly have more to offer than big box stores or online vendors. A local seller is more invested in you and your community’s success. Think it all sounds pretty great but not sure you can trust me? Don’t just take my word for it, visit a local business and see if I’m not right about the level of expertise and willingness to help being apparent within the first few minutes of being there. I’m positive that you’ll be thanking me later.
What have your experiences been with making major purchases over the internet or at big box stores? Have you ever had an exceptional experience with a local merchant? Tell us in the comments below.
As always, we are here to help. Let us know if you have any questions.
Total Merchant Supply is a POS dealer based in Charlotte, NC