As consumers, we constantly look to improve our purchasing decisions and spend our money smartly, in a way that makes a positive difference to our economy.
A fail-safe way to do that is to shop local. Shopping locally can bring real benefits for you and your local economy and community and build a positive network of economic activities.
Irish consumers spend more than €5 billion, every year, for products and services sourced outside Ireland. That spending leaves the country without providing any benefit to our local economy.
According to a recent article in the Irish Times ‘every €100 spent in the local economy is actually worth €500'. Once spending is circulated in the local economy, on locally produced products and services it is used to pay wages and support local initiatives which are also spent locally.
So here we look at what difference does it make when you shop locally:
1. Promote Local Talent
Many talented, local designers and crafters lack the means to share their craft with the world. Often, they do not have the funding to lease a physical location and depend on making sales online.
When you support local talent, you give craftspeople and artists the attention they deserve and the means to operate independently. By supporting local crafters, you are paving the way for a more inviting environment for upcoming businesses.
2. One-of-a-Kind Gifts
Locally crafted products have a level of uniqueness that are not necessarily found in large chain stores. Craftspeople and other creative minds alike come up with original ideas that you will not find anywhere else.
You can surprise your recipients with something unique, high quality and long lasting, such as, a handmade piece of pottery or a woven scarf. It is also an opportunity to learn more about the people behind the product and appreciate the craft and attention to detail that gives the gift a personal touch.
3. Excellent Customer Experience
Shopping locally certainly has its benefits, and one of them is receiving excellent personalized customer service. Chances are your local crafters, and sellers, already know who you are and have a friendlier, more personal approach due to the level of familiarity.
After all, doing business with people who know our name is much more pleasurable, they are more likely to go that extra mile to help you solve your problem.
When we support the local businesses, it helps to preserve the uniqueness and local charm. Small businesses are the pulse of the local economy and contribute to the heart of your community. Local crafters and makers give your surroundings those distinctive charms that cannot be replicated.
The presence of independent local suppliers in your town, markets, farmers market etc. make your local area unique. Small shops support local charities, sports teams and invest back by spending their money locally.
Locally businesses are central to promoting the interests of the community and can offer so much to local towns and villages. Products and services are often within walking distance, or short delivery, reducing the impact of carbon emissions.
Local business is also often central to promoting eco-friendly initiatives by promoting and proving sponsorship for community orientated sustainable projects.
6. Local Employment
Local businesses boost the local economy and supporting local jobs, which is especially important when times are difficult. Compared to large stores, smaller businesses recycle a much larger chunk of their revenue back into the local business community.
Local employment reduces the need for long commutes time and provide a better quality of life.
Supporting your local producers is a win-win situation. Nurturing local businesses shifts the control from multistore to the local community.
When you shop locally, you support the local economy, sustain local jobs, help the environment, and in return, you receive high-quality, unique products, healthier food, and better customer service.