In times gone past when people needed to buy something that they could not produce on their own they had to travel for miles to purchase it. Human innovation however changed this with local shops, cities, catalog shopping and mail order but the biggest impact to our shopping habits was the internet. This made it even easier and provided far more options to choose where you spend your money and buy the items you need.
With the luxury of the internet people are now finding ways to meet their shopping needs other than buying locally which can create for all of us a moral dilemma. Do you go about buying online and saving your budget versus supporting your local economy and local businesses. This personally is a pet hate of mine which I shall talk about later. So which one do you feel is the best choice for you?
Buying local versus shopping online overseas, which would you prefer?
The business world is now a very competitive battleground for both online and local business owners. But what does this mean to us the consumers and our pockets? Will more options mean better savings? Is it better for our economy in the long run if we shop locally?
Pros in buying locally:
You know who you are buying from.
Local stores, especially if they are the same old regulars you’ve always known, give you a sense of security and confidence about the quality of goods and services they offer. With online retailers often you are not really sure what you will receive or to expect particularly with regards the quality and the truth about what they are offering to sell you. Internet shopping fraud and scams are also something you have to watch out for which isn’t to say you can get ripped off when shopping offline!
A more personalized service.
When you physically walk into a store you have the advantage of talking to someone you hope has an expertise about a product you are not really familiar with. You can personally see the item, test it and even ask for the sellers own opinion to make sure you get the best value for your money. When you do it online you are at a risk of buying something sight unseen that will match the description when it turns up.
Keep the money at home.
When shopping locally in theory the money stays in the community which helps your local economy, provides jobs and contributes to your countries economy. Notice I said in theory? Do you really know who owns the business your buying from and where they get their stock/products from? If its a foreign owned organization about the only money staying here is staff wages. The rest could be going overseas. When you buy overseas all of your business and money goes where you bought it from. You are then helping a different economy when your very own is losing out.
Pros when you buy online:
Online shopping is gaining popularity because you can buy from comforts of home. You don’t have wait in line or fight the crowd to obtain what you want. Delivery is someone elses problem and not yours. Not only can you be relaxed but also it gives you the ability to focus more on what you want to buy and shop around to find it.
You save time and money.
No need to go out so no need to pay for gas or transportation or spend time traveling from one store to another. Local stores also don’t sell everything you are looking for so you can say goodbye to going from store to store looking for that last item you need or that slightly better price.
Compare more items and get the same thing at a better deal.
In a couple of minutes with the right search term on the right page you can bring up on your screen a list of online shops where you can buy what you need. You can compare products, look up more references or reviews and even pick the option that gives you the best deal or the lowest price including shipping.
The morality of it all
If your like me that the moral decision about shopping online versus overseas probably stirs you up a bit. My personal take is that my country of residence taxes all incoming goods and sales so hard that shopping online makes our local pricing look embarrassing.When I can save 60% shopping online for the same item how can I support my local businesses. The problem isn’t their pricing or their unrealistic margins (remember ive worked in retail I remember how much they make) its how much its costs them to put the item in their shop! Is this their fault? Can they influence any of this?
The bottom line (pun intended) if you think about it buying local versus shopping online both have their pros and cons. What is important is that consumers make an educated decision and be aware of the results of their shopping choices. We have more freedom as consumers right now and we should take care of that freedom by being responsible shoppers and weighing up all the options ourselves.
Know a keen online shopper? Are you a staunch support of your local business? Leave us a comment and dont forget sharing is caring.
***Photos thanks to Wikimedia and HM Revenue & Customs of Flickr***