Shopping small - what’s in it for you?
With this odd year behind us, let’s prepare for an odd Christmas ahead. This year won’t hold any charming Christmas markets, but our small businesses are still here and may even be more convenient than last year. 2020 has forced most businesses online, so even with lockdown restrictions looming, you can still gift and celebrate in extraordinary fashion this year.
This online migration has helped to level the playing field with large corporations slightly, but I hope to further demonstrate the value you get from supporting small businesses that you don’t get when buying from large corporations.
1 - Better customer service
When you buy from a small business you are bound to get better customer service than you would through a corporate call centre the vast majority of the time. Every sale has a massive impact on the bottom line for small business and that is why they are more likely to roll out the red carpet upon your arrival. You also get to speak to a person who is intrinsically involved in the business and not an operator regurgitating a scripted response.
2 - Artistic value
When you buy from a small business you are buying years of skill that has been developed and mastered to produce a personal identity. Whether that is the guy cutting your keys and resoling your winter boots or the shop that sells handmade homewares, you get a little bit of art into your day. You are also likely to end up with a unique artisanal piece that bucks the trend of mass produced disposable goods.
3 - Paying a living wage
More often than not, small businesses sell locally made products. This means that minimum wages apply to whomever was involved in producing and selling that product. I don't know about you, but it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling when I use my money to vote for the type of world where people get paid a decent amount for their efforts. And this also means that your children (or nieces and nephews) might end up benefiting from this when it’s their turn to enter the job market.
4 - Fantastic buying environment
Did you know that people working in a small business are much more likely to have great relationships with their co-workers? Because there is no HR department to sort out their relational problems they have to take care of one another much more carefully. That spills over into a fantastic buying environment where small business owners and employees enjoy each other and enjoy their customers. I, for one, have never come across a grumpy salesperson working for an independent shop - they always seem to be chipper and helpful.
5 - The chain of events
Small business owners are much more likely to support other small businesses than large corporations. So your purchase is just the start of the rather spectacular circular economy of loving and supporting each other, and our local communities.