With modern advances in e-commerce, it is possible to order a product from the opposite end of the world and have it delivered to your doorstep with just a few clicks. Big box retailers are now firmly entrenched in nearly every city, town, and province in the country, offering shoppers a hodgepodge of almost every product imaginable. These two recent innovations have improved people’s access to cheap goods and services at the cost of losing small businesses. Global supply chain innovations may have seemed to improve our standard of living in many places in America, but it has also caused its fair share of problems. In this article, we will examine how shopping locally will help you avoid these problems and benefit your community at the same time.

Reason #1: Reduce Your Chances of Fraud

We hear about fraudulent activity on the news almost nightly. Online fraud takes on many forms, including phishing, spoofing, and counterfeit websites. When you shop locally, you decrease your chances of having your personal or bank account information stolen. Furthermore, you can examine the product that you plan on purchasing when shopping locally, avoiding purchasing counterfeit goods or being ripped off.

Reason #2: Reduce Your Wait Time

When you shop online, it can sometimes take weeks before your products show up. For those of us who need immediate gratification, there is nothing like being able to buy a product and put it to use right away. This contentment from being able to take your new purchase home instantly is one of the benefits that you get from purchasing locally.

Reason #3: Reduce Your Chances of Getting Sick

Produce, such as fruits, vegetables, along with eggs and meat, are best bought locally as they have a reduced chance of being infected with harmful bacterial or foodborne illnesses such as salmonella, E-coli, or listeria. Additionally, because the food you buy locally does not have to be treated with preservatives, genetically modified, or irradiated to keep it stable for transport, your food is certainly going to be fresher and healthier.

Reason #4: Lower Your Carbon Footprint

Logistics and supply chain studies have shown that the average American’s meal travels over 1,500 miles before arriving on the dinner table. This long-distance transportation consumes immense amounts of fossil fuels and produces excess carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Instead of buying food that must be shipped across the country, consider shopping locally whenever possible. You also personally save on gas and mileage on your own vehicle by shopping at places that are within a few miles. By shopping locally, you will be helping the environment and reducing global warming in the process.

Reason #5: Goods May Cost Less

Because manufacturers must pay to ship their parts and finished products by land, sea, and air, they factor in these transportation costs into the cost of goods sold, which is then passed along to you, the consumer. If you find local producers with comparable products, there is a good chance you will get a better deal since the business owner didn’t have to pay someone to transport the products.

Reason #6: Your Money Helps Your Neighbors 

Perhaps the biggest reason to shop local is the good that you do right in your own backyard. A few decades ago, turmoil ensued as small business owners in the US discovered they were being put out of business by faceless, multinational retail corporations. Shopping locally helps these small business owners stay competitive and stay in business. After all, business owners are working to provide for themselves and their families. When you shop local, your money stays in your community (and may even end up coming back to you in some form) and helps your neighbors earn a living. The antithesis of shopping locally, purchasing goods from elsewhere, sends the money off to another corner of the world, never to return to your monetary ecosystem.

Reason #7: You Receive Better Customer Service

When you shop locally, especially if you frequent the same business regularly, you are bound to form a relationship with the owners/employees of the company. This relationship is not merely personally gratifying; it can improve your shopping experience overall. Loyal patrons of a local store not only get a more personal shopping experience, but they are also in a better position to ask business owners for unique or customized merchandise. For example, a local package store owner will order your wife’s favorite wine, or a deli owner will memorize your weekly order of meat and cheese and have it waiting for you when you arrive.

Speaking of customer service, shopping locally is also superior when you need to return an item to the store. It is often much easier to get a refund or make an exchange with local stores.

Reason #8: You Can Buy Truly Unique Products

Small mom and pop shops that make their own future, clothing, or other goods, produce a truly unique product that cannot be found anywhere else on Earth. If you pride yourself on being a contemporary trendsetter, shopping locally opens a new world of possibilities.

Reason #9: Reduce Stress on Global Supply Chain

As the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of the international supply chain, many more people are beginning the see the benefits of shopping locally. When you shop locally, you bypass the global shipping lanes and go straight to the source of the goods or services. By reducing stress on the worldwide supply chain, you are helping ensure its longevity so that you can obtain the items that you cannot find locally.

Reason #10: You Help Create Jobs 

When you shop locally, you increase the demand for goods or services on the local level. To keep up with demand, local businesses must create jobs and hire locals. While it seems logical to assume that more prominent companies create more jobs, the statistics on job creation in America do not support this. According to the US Small Business Administration, small businesses accounted for 64% of all job growth between 1993 and 2011.

Chamber of Commerce Helps Strengthen the Local Economy

So, there you have it, the top 10 reasons to shop locally. One thing you may have noticed is that nearly all these reasons benefit you the consumer, creating a win-win situation between yourself and the businesses in your community.

Business owners in Jefferson County, TN looking for additional chances to connect to new customers, enhancer their marketing opportunities, and expand their business should join the Chamber of Commerce. Not only does a Chamber membership give you access to business referrals, advertising options, and networking opportunities, you will also be doing your part to maintain a robust local economy. Discover all the other exciting opportunities that Chamber members are already capitalizing on by joining the Chamber of Commerce today. Contact us online or by calling (865) 397-9642 today.