Where You Shop Matters to More Than Your Wallet

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

Where do you shop? The options available are as vast as they are varied, from the physical world to the web. Much of the determination as to who gets our money has to do with the item or service for which we’re shopping.

Shop Locally?

A myriad of factors go into deciding where to shop for what. You may prefer to shop locally if the following issues are a priority for you:

  • Fit – Although you can certainly purchase clothing online, many people prefer to actually try things on rather than trust the sizing from an online store.
  • Color – There’s no definitive way to determine color online. Seeing it in person is the only way to make certain you get the one you want.
  • Personal contact – You may prefer to purchase from an actual human who can inform you about a product or service and field your questions. You may also feel more comfortable making a purchase from a “place with a face” should you need to return a product make a complaint.
  • Personal service – A level of personalized customer attention can be offered by a local professional that even stellar virtual customer service can’t touch. In certain professional relationships, like Insurance Agent, there’s a major benefit to doing business with someone who has firsthand knowledge of the intricacies of your unique circumstances and needs.

Shop on the Web?

Shopping on the Internet offers significant benefits, including

  • 24/7 Convenience – Shop anytime for virtually anything.
  • Choice – Comparison shop by features, price, brand, model…it’s all there for the finding.
  • Price – Because they lack the overhead of a brick and mortar store (like rent), online prices are often considerably cheaper.
  • Information/Reviews – Most shopping sites provide detailed product descriptions, an About Page and information about their store and products and/or services. Many also include customer reviews or testimonials so consumers can learn what others think.

While it’s true that many services, like haircuts, restaurant dining, child care, electrical and plumbing services and dry cleaning still must be conducted from a “brick and mortar” location, many more, from tax preparation to legal services to psychic readings are available online. The choice is ours as to where we do business.

Why the Choice Matters

Where “should” you shop? The answer depends on your priorities. While the Internet makes a lot of shopping easier and less expensive (especially when you use coupons we’ve gathered here, there are undeniable benefits to shopping locally. According to The 3/50 Project, if half the employed population spent $50 monthly in independent, locally-owned stores, $42.6 billion in revenue would be generated. That’s money that could be in the pocket of folks who live and work in your community. The site goes on to say that, for every $100 spent locally, $68 stays in the community, paying taxes, payroll and other business expenditures. By comparison, that same $100 spent at a national chain store returns only $43 to the community and online purchases return nothing at all.

It’s a fine line for consumers to walk. Certainly we want to fuel our local economies by spending locally. Pumping money into our communities makes for a higher standard of living for all. However, local businesses are often, by necessity, a bit pricier than other shopping options and we know that it’s important to spend prudently.

Bottom line, I suggest you take the advice of The 3/50 Project: Choose the three local, independent businesses you’d miss if they closed up shop. Patronize them whenever you can to do your part in helping them thrive. Shop online or at national chains for the rest of your purchases. You’ll be spending your money responsibly on all fronts.

Where do you shop and why?

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