August 5, 2020 | 3-minute read (575 words)
With the COVID-19 pandemic still creating a challenging environment for small businesses, consumers appear to be doing their part to try and help. That’s the word from a new survey, which indicates that 83 percent of Americans would choose a local product over a national brand if presented with similar options.
Background: The Red Egg Consumer Sentiment Study polled 1,653 Americans over the age of 18 to determine how they feel about local products and services, as well as brands and shopping habits. The results indicate that consumers realize the impact that small businesses have on their communities, and want to do their part to help keep them alive.
Consumers Will Spend More Locally
In addition to saying they would prefer to buy local products over national brands, most consumers are willing to spend more money to support local businesses. In fact, just 16 percent of respondents said they wouldn’t pay more for a product sold locally vs. one that was from a national brand.
But what do shoppers consider “local,” exactly? About 61 percent of the survey respondents said they classify businesses that operate and sell products/services in their own cities as local businesses, while another 22 percent said the businesses should be in their neighborhood. The remaining 17 percent describe a local business as one that sells products/services in their state.
Takeaway: These statistics indicate that it’s more important than ever to deploy targeted marketing strategies that capture the shoppers within your local area so you can convert them into customers. By using tried and true marketing channels like social media and traditional advertising, you’ll be able to attract the highest number of potential customers as possible. Keep them coming back by instituting a strong loyalty program, and consistently review your website analytics to gather accurate data on who’s been visiting your site the most.
Most Consumers Shop Locally at Least Monthly
While 93 percent of survey respondents said they have purchased locally in the past, about 71 percent of those polled say they actually go out of their way to support local businesses. And they appear to be quite loyal, with 55 percent saying they shop locally at least once a month, while 33 percent buy locally at least weekly.
Shoppers cite a variety of reasons about why they gravitate toward locally-sold and produced items. The main reason is that they want to support local businesses, but 54 percent said they believe the products are of higher quality, whether that means they’re fresher, more authentic or there’s another reason behind it.
Another 31 percent believe that locally-purchased products are more accessible, while other consumers said they find local items more cost effective. But that doesn’t mean that shoppers blindly grab local products without first performing their due diligence.
In fact, a startling 71 percent of shoppers research brands before making purchases from them. Those shoppers find that information from such places as company websites, social media pages, blog posts, price checks and reviews of companies' community involvement efforts
So what happens if a consumer’s curiosity is piqued about your product, but they can’t find any information during their research? More than likely, your item would be moved to the bottom of their wish list. Therefore, it’s imperative for businesses to maintain a content-rich website and an active social media presence to ensure that savvy shoppers turn into customers.