The heavy blow of COVID-19 around the world has had a devastating impact, specifically on small businesses globally. These businesses typically lack the cash flow and capital to sustain a halt in normal operations. According to a study done by Small Business Majority, “small businesses report they’ve experienced negative impacts to their business as a result of the coronavirus crisis.” This article states that 43 percent of small businesses have experienced severe negative impacts, while 29 percent have had a moderate negative impact. Amid the growing economic concerns, small businesses need our help more than ever before.
Everywhere, governments are ordering people to quarantine in their homes, ceasing international travel, and shuttering non-essential businesses. These measures are designed to slow the spread of the global pandemic COVID-19 and keep people safe. Many independent sellers have been forced to close their doors and some may never re-open. A recent survey by Facebook referred to by CNBC shows, “About a third of closed businesses surveyed said they do not expect to reopen, with many citing an inability to pay bills or rent.” Pair this with China’s development in mass production over the past four decades and Amazons consumer take-over and you have yourself a rather destructive cocktail.
A CNBC analyst predicted that the disruption to businesses from coronavirus could lead to 15,000 permanent retail store closures in 2020. This could indicate that more consumers will turn to online shopping in 2020 than ever before. We still have the power to aid our small business owners by actively shopping on sites that promote local economies. Choosing to explore options like these could help consumers play their role in the survival of independently-owned businesses. Consumers are left in a difficult place due to increasing globalization and the almost desensitized experience to quality goods that can aggravate the current conditions.
To shop or not to shop locally? Here are four (small business friendly) alternatives to shopping on Amazon!
Photo Credit: Brook Lark
Locally brings the convenience of shopping online to your favorite nearby stores without the need for eCommerce or wasteful packaging and logistics. Customers can explore hundreds of popular brands and check real-time inventory in 3,500+ cities 24 hours a day.
Locally helps stores present their selection to nearby shoppers using eCommerce tactics and provide users with novel last-mile fulfillment options like in-store pickup and same-day delivery.
Etsy is a global marketplace for creative goods. It is their mission to keep human connection at the heart of commerce. Etsy has built a community of sellers that turn their ideas into successful businesses. This platform connects sellers with millions of buyers looking for an alternative— ”something special with a human touch, for those moments in life that deserve imagination.”
LocalHarvest connects people looking for good food with the farmers who produce it. It is an online national directory of family farms and farmer’s markets, along with restaurants and grocery stores that feature local food.
The company’s website states, “Buying local is about enjoying real food, grown yourself or purchased from people you trust. It’s about developing strong local economies and producing food on a human scale. It’s about eating seasonally, practicing the art of cooking, and sitting down to enjoy meals together. It requires ample local and regional producers, processors, and distributors. As they see it, the goal of the local food movement is to create thriving community-based food systems that will make high quality local food available to everyone.
To that end, LocalHarvest makes millions of introductions a year.”
MadeByUs.ch is a Swiss-based eCommerce company that promotes the revitalization of Swiss and American quality goods, two countries historically renowned globally for creating exceptional products.
Founder of MadeByUs.ch, Lorenza Sala, remarks, “If there is a lesson we can learn from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that Countries need to focus on self-sufficiency. They have to be able to produce what they need in an emergency situation, without being compelled to ask other Countries for resources.” Sala is a native Swiss citizen who was inspired by the U.S.’s entrepreneurial spirit to launch her very own business.
In addition to shopping locally online, here are a few other ways in which consumers can be heroes. A few simple acts to aid offline stores are buying gift cards, ordering take-out, or even simply giving your favorite establishment a shout out on social media could go a long way when doors reopen.
Be a Hero
While large corporations play a major role in the economic health of a nation, there is much to note about the pivotal part that small businesses play in stimulating a healthy economy. The emerging trend of present-day goods and services reaching consumers in any part of the world makes the act of “buying locally” even that much more difficult for consumers that have numerous shopping options like shopping on Amazon for most of their essential and non-essential needs. When we buy locally, we support business owners who pour time into their craft. With the recent effects on global markets amid COVID-19, it is crucial we as citizens and consumers make a wider effort to boost small business by choosing to buy goods and services offered by independent sellers.