Whether you live in the suburbs or the city, you’ve probably seen the hashtags #shopsmall or #shoplocal. Lately, there has been the push to sway the trend from the “big box” store and more toward the small “mom and pop” shops. But, in the era of e-commerce, sometimes that is a difficult choice to make. Retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Wish, etc. may offer lower prices than the small retailer and in the small retail world these are sometimes viewed almost like a curse word that shouldn’t be uttered within their walls. So, what makes the small retailer so great then? Why should you #shoplocal vs. shop big box?
Let’s talk about it…
- Supporting jobs- This is huge- and I’m actually going to stand up for some big box stores here. In recent times, retail in general has been struggling. It seems we hear about another retailer (small or large) going out of business every month, if not more often. Every retailer that goes out of business takes away jobs that our local economies need- even big retailers! But here’s the difference between big and small retailers. Large retailers, especially on the local level, don’t have as much skin in the game. Small retailers often have much more at stake. Their shops aren’t opened from a desire to get rich quick, but rather grown out of a love for their industry. The blood, sweat, and tears of the business owner, their family, and even their employees go into every thing that the retailer does. So when you shop local, you help to build the dream that retailer has of providing a wonderful experience for their customers.
- Customer Service- Everyone talks about how wonderful customer service is a thing of the past. A memory of a not so long ago era where employees and customer service reps valued the customer experience. In e-commerce only and large retailers, customer service can get lost- quickly. As the shopping population get accustomed to only being an order number we begin to forget the feeling of being the valued customer. But, for small retailers customer service is the life blood. We love talking about what you love, about the products we carry, what you don’t love, and hearing your suggestions for what you would like to see. We love to call you by name, and see your littles grow up. And we thank you for letting us into your life whether through one purchase or multiple purchases.
- Prices- Can you get a cheaper price on Amazon, Wish, or other platforms? Maybe, probably on some items, but what are you getting? Some items that are way cheaper may not be made to the same quality as the items we carry, some items may be knock-offs, or sometimes suppliers make special agreements due to the sheer bulk ordering large retailers can do. But, what are your really paying for? Most times, from these large retailers, the answer to that would be the item you purchased. When you purchase from a small retailer, you are not only buying the item, but the experience surrounding it. The (wo)manpower to educate, to create a great customer service experience, and make your entire experience a pleasant one.
- Community- This goes back some to customer service. Many great retailers focus on building a community for their customers and fans. This helps everyone learn more about the products and services that are offered. It also helps to build relationships between fans and frankly gives us another adult to talk to sometimes. I don’t know about you, but I mostly hold conversations with my sassy little one. Plus, a lot of small retailers love to spoil their customers with rewards and other goodies for being part of their fan community!
If you’ve read this far- wohoo and thanks! I didn’t mean to write a book when I started, it just sort of came out. If you know me in person, this tends to happen when I’m talking about something I’m passionate about. Shopping small is something I’m very passionate about and I’m a huge advocate for the little shop. Is it the best choice for every family? No, it isn’t. At the end of the day, Amazon, etc. might need to be the better choice for your budget. At Water Lilies, you don’t have to be afraid to say it. We totally get it and have had to make the same decisions ourselves sometimes. Just know, we’ll be here to help, inform, and be an ear.