Finding More Small Local Business Options Online

Buy Local

Current Solutions to Finding Small Local Providers

Are you a buy-local shopper who has trouble finding small local businesses online? We’ve chatted with many passionate buy local shoppers about how they typically access new small local business options. The overwhelming majority of them stated online searches, stumbling across, and word-of-mouth as their main methods.

word-of-mouth recommendations for small local businesses
Sharing your small local biz finds with your friends – always a great experience.

I think we can all relate to that feeling when a friend recommends a new local provider to you. It’s a no-brainer. You’re going to check them out because your friend—someone who gets you—recommended them. And you’re pretty much assured an experience you’re going to love. In fact, your friend will probably want to take you there to bask in the enjoyment he’s brought you! And you’ll likely do the same for another friend.

Stumbling across, though exciting, happens even less frequently nowadays. Folks are so busy that (unless you’re on holiday) you often don’t spend much time meandering new quarters. And stumbling across a new-to-you small indie local provider, isn’t always in line with the goods and services that you actually need in the moment. Good to know, but not always what you want when you want it.

Difficulties Finding Small Local Businesses Online

small local planter options
The cool little planters an option in your small indie shops

Let’s say it’s the weekend and you want to do a spot of shopping. You can google the item you’re looking for and get a plethora of options. The issue is, a lot of these search results will be from big companies.

Let’s say for example that you want to buy a planter. On Google, you plug in a search like “nice planter” or “modern planter”. Chances are, the results will be a list of big corporations and retailers like Costco, Ikea, Home Depot and so on and so forth. It is much less likely for your results to include a local florist or plant shop that makes and sells cool hand-made planters. Go ahead—try it yourself! This is what we got when we did!

Hard to find small local options in onine searches
“Near Me” local planters search – still gets big corporate results

“Near to Me” – Still Big Box Search Results

Some buy-local shoppers have more success filtering out some of the bigger corporate search results by using the Near to Me search option or typing in their actual area. If the small local businesses offering planters, let’s say, are near to you, then they should appear nearer to the top of the search results. But, if you’re close to all the big box stores, they will still dominate the top results.

Now in our world of online searches being our first port of call, if it were actually effective in connecting customers with more small local businesses, then “visibility” wouldn’t be the number one reported problem of small Canadian businesses. But it is.

Our Buy Local Platform: a Solution for Finding More Small Local Business Options Online

It is this very problem of visibility in the online space that we solve for both buy-local customers and small local businesses alike. Because we’re a platform exclusively for small local businesses, there are no worries about having any big corporates in your search results! And, you know those awesome word-of-mouth “guaranteed to please” referrals? We’ve got that covered too, as you can easily share your favourite small indie businesses within your networks!

But Why Does Buying Small and Local Matter?

Our explainer video gives a great synopsis of all the benefits of shopping small and local, so do check it out.
Update Note: We used to be called vLife and this video is from that time. Same buy-local truths and benefits, now under a better name 🙂

You’re Supporting Local Families

To further illustrate, by buying your planter from a local florist or furniture store, you are actively helping somebody who lives and works in your own community. Somebody whose business is part of your community’s unique local fabric. You can rest easy knowing where the money you’re spending is going. Can you say the same thing about your big box purchases?

You’re Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

buying local reduces your carbon footprint
Buying Local More Reduces Your Carbon Footprint

Another upside to buying small and local is that it reduces your carbon footprint. With big corporations and retailers, their products are more often than not being shipped in from across the globe. And, it’s being shipped in en masse—requiring huge amounts of energy in transport. But small local businesses tend to source more from other small local businesses, and therefore have a much lower carbon footprint. So, buying from them also reduces yours.

You’re Getting a Uniquely Local Experience

And, you get to discover and experience more of your broader local. By stepping out of your regular routine and going to a new local provider, you get cool new experiences and contribute to more of what makes your community so uniquely your local.

Shopping Small & Local—Everybody Wins

buying local is good for the planet
Buying Local makes for a happy you, happy communities, and Happy Planet.

So, whether it’s a planter or a new outfit you’re looking for, try actively checking out the unique options at your small local stores. And feel good purchasing there because you know that you’re helping the local provider, your community and the planet!

Now it’s your turn: when was the last time you patronized a small local business or retailer? Get out there and check out a new place in your neighbourhood you haven’t gone before. You won’t regret it. And leave us a comment telling us all about it—we’d love to hear from you!

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