Tales From the Online Marketing

What Local B2C Businesses Need to Focus on to Stay Open
Since COVID-19 barged in on our lives, there’s been a lot of rallying on social media about the #ShopLocal movement. I’ve been on that cheerleading team too-what about you?

But when push comes to shove, are you REALLY shopping local or just supporting from the sidelines while continuing to order from Amazon or some big-box store in a different country, capitalizing on all the juicy sales happening during the holiday season?

It’s OK. I think many of us are guilty, myself included.

Which leads me to why I’m writing this piece…

The dilemma of supporting local: sometimes it’s just not easy to do so.

The other day we needed a part for our BBQ. We called a few local stores, and no one carried the part we needed.

Amazon did. And we got it the next day.

Last Saturday I was bound and determined to support local businesses and set out to buy several gifts on my Christmas list.

In a nutshell, this is what I found:

  • I drove 45 minutes round-trip to pick up a $10 item, so I could save a $10 shipping charge.
  • Due to COVID-19, I had to stand in line outside, in the cold, for about 10 minutes before I could enter the store and look around.
  • Across the street was another store I wanted to check out. The line-up was twice as long so I passed on that idea.
  • One store I really wanted to go to (and support) was closed by 2pm. It was 2:30 when I got there.
  • Two of the boutique stores I went to had a fraction of the inventory they normally have during the holiday season. Again, because of the pandemic they had to remove the centre aisle shelves in order to accommodate social distancing.
  • Another small specialty store only allowed one customer in at a time and there were two people in front of me. I was running out of time, so I went back to my car.
  • And don’t even get me started with the stress of dealing with the traffic jams and finding parking…

I was gone for four hours, doing my best to support local but dang-it wasn’t convenient at all! Not to mention how exhausted I was by the time I got home.

Now in the spirit of full transparency, I did go to one big-box store and guess what?

No line-ups at the door due to the large store size.

I found exactly what I wanted.

I also found a 30% off coupon on my phone while standing in line that I used towards my purchase.

And I was in and out within a few minutes.

It’s tough for local small businesses to compete with that.

But they’re going to have to if they want to survive.

Big-box stores, including Amazon, offer the selection and competitive prices they do because they have the infrastructure to support those value-based initiatives.

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