Thursday, June 25, 2015 12:10 am
Staying local when gift buying has its benefits
The average adult must shop for gifts for friends or family members several times over the course of a typical year. Birthdays, holidays and anniversaries are often the driving force behind such excursions, but some people will buy a gift for a loved one even if there is no special occasion attached.
When buying gifts for those we love, many consumers hope to find something unique. But unique items can be hard to find at the local shopping mall, where national chain stores tend to dominate. That reality highlights just one of the many benefits of shopping locally.
- Local merchants tend to have more unique merchandise. A national chain store on one side of the country is not much different from its counterpart on the opposite coast. The stores’ layouts are likely identical and so is their inventory. Unlike such corporate giants, local merchants aren’t mass-producing their items, and chances are the items sold by local merchants are one-of-a-kind. Such items make for more unique gifts that recipients might find more thoughtful than an item they can find at larger chain stores.
- Local merchants often provide more satisfying customer service. Larger chains tend to rely on automated systems to handle many of their customer service calls. Some consumers may never even speak to a real person when they call a customer service line, while others may first have to answer several automated questions before finally being connected to a real person. Local merchants tend to handle their own customer service, and consumers who have a concern or question about a product often speak directly with the store’s owner. That sense of direct connection gives consumers some peace of mind and can make them more comfortable when making their purchases.
- Local merchants tend to be more knowledgeable about their products. Large chain stores might have many employees working on the floor or behind the registers, but those employees are not always experts on the products being sold throughout the store. Local merchants tend to have less inventory and fewer employees, who often know a great deal about the products on the shelves. Some employees might even have developed the products being sold, and that knowledge can be put to use when uncertain shoppers are looking for the perfect gift for their loved ones.
- Local merchants are more accessible. Arguably the biggest benefit of shopping locally for gifts is the proximity to home. Consumers who buy products from merchants within their community won’t have to travel far to do their shopping, nor will they need to gas up the car if the item needs to be returned or exchanged. Some local merchants may even be within walking distance of home, making a shopping trip even more accessible.
Consumers often find shopping local when buying gifts for family and friends is a great way to obtain more satisfying and reliable customer service. –Metro Creative