July is Independent Retailer Month when we celebrate and support local, independent retail stores across the US.
The reasons to shop local are compelling:
- When you shop locally owned-businesses, money will stay in the community 3 times longer creating more jobs in the community.
- A dollar spent at an independent, local retail store is usually spent 6 to 15 times before it leaves the community. Compare that to spending $1 at a national chain where almost 80% of the money leaves town immediately.
- Nearly ½ of US total retail sales come from independent businesses.
- Local businesses generally require less infrastructure investment — smaller footprint means less required from government infrastructure services.
- They have less environmental impact because they set up downtown or in existing commercial corridors and tend to buy their products and services locally cutting down on pollution.
Independent Retailer Month (www.independentretailermonth.com) connects consumers and communities to local independent retailers with a range of promotions (in-store, online, community events) that encourage consumers to stimulate their local economies by shopping at independent businesses. The campaign also reiterates the benefits of local businesses as well as their importance to the local, national and global economy.
I’m an avid shopper of local retail although I also shop at many of the national chains as well. What I like about my local independent retailers is not only do they support our neighborhoods and charities; they’re woven into the fabric of the community. Oftentimes the store owner has curated an assortment of products/services that are geared to local tastes and if they don’t carry what you like, they’ll either order it for you or recommend a store that does sell it. I’ve found many unique treasures shopping at my local retailers and know my friends and neighbors have as well.
Strong Future for Independent Retail
Forbes contributor Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle’s recent article (www.bit.ly/indyretail2014) discusses the strong future for independent retail, how savvy local retailers determine their unique strategies/offerings to compete against the majors and how increasingly accessible technologies enable retailers of all sizes to more effectively manage their businesses.
Access to technology: POS systems
POS systems are a great example of how even small, independent retailers can benefit from the accessibility of technology. Until a few years ago, the only options were either low-end electronic cash registers (ECR’s) purchased at office supply stores or high-end traditional POS systems. The ECR’s provided little information to effectively run a business and the high-end traditional registers had more feature/function and costs than what the small retailer needed.
Today with the advent of tablets, smart phones and payment devices like Square that can be used as POS systems, smaller retailers are able to harness the technology they need to more effectively run their business and compete in the market.
Shop local retail stores
Even if it’s your morning cup of coffee, we hope that you’ll join the celebrations of independent retail and shop local.
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