We're living in a world of electronic communication, a place where everything we need can be delivered to our doorstep without us ever having to leave our homes. It's easy to see why this is a good thing! Everything is so easy, so convenient! We can access the world from the couch in our living room!
So why wouldn't we order everything we need online? With free shipping available on almost everything and the amount of time we can save to do other things, it's hard to imagine why we even need stores anymore! And the truth is, many retail locations have suffered. Perhaps that's just the way the world is going and retailers need to adapt to accommodate this new reality. I'd like to present an argument, though, for why local shops in particular are important and why they need to stay.
1)LOCAL SHOPS PROVIDE A GREAT PLACE TO GET ADVICE AND TRY PRODUCTS.
Local shops are usually run by people who know a lot about their products and a lot about the community of which they are a part. For example, employees at Fleet Feet know their shoes and can give you a lot of information about the shoes and why they may or may not be the right choice for you. Then you can actually TRY ON the shoes (without having to order them all and return all the ones you don't like). Without local retail locations, this local advice and expertise will be no more.
2) LOCAL SHOPS MAINTAIN THE LOCAL CHARACTER & DIVERSITY OF THE COMMUNITY.
Can you imagine a world in which every city in every state had the same exact stores with the same exact products? There might be things about it that would be convenient and easy, but the character and individuality of the city would be gone! Local shops provide unique outlets with unique products and the local owner can provide items that he knows his community would like and enjoy.
At Fleet Feet and at many other local shops, there are also lots of fun events that are open to the community and give people a place to come together and meet other like-minded people. We host free fun runs, ladies' nights, clinics and many other types of events and love to provide a fun, family-friendly place for people to go and meet other active people.
3) MORE OF YOUR MONEY STAYS IN THE LOCAL ECONOMY.
Studies have shown that your money spent at a local shop has 3x the impact on the community as it would at a national chain. This happens in several ways, partly because it's employing local community members who spent their money locally, but also because local shops tend to support and invest in other local events and businesses. In addition, local non-profits and charitable organizations receive 350% more support from local businesses.
4) SERVICE, SERVICE, SERVICE!
Customer service is consistently rated better at local shops and that's because it's consistently rated top-priority by local business owners. They know they win by providing better service than the national chains. They may not always be able to carry the volume of products that you'll find at national chains, but they'll only carry the best and they'll always be there to explain the products, they'll stand by their products and they'll give you their time and answer all your questions. At Fleet Feet, we're committed to providing an environment in which everyone feels welcome and appreciated, and the time we spend with you will show that.
So the next time you think about buying online, consider these important points. Maybe you'll still choose to shop online sometimes, but my hope is that you'll continue to support local shops so they'll be around for generations to come.
Thanks for shopping local!