Shopping Local: How and Why it Matters in Ireland

Why Shop Local? 

When it comes to shopping whether it be for yourself, for someone’s birthday or to get ahead on your never-ending Christmas gift list, there are plenty of reasons to buy local. Shopping locally supports small Irish businesses and helps to boost the local economy. In Ireland, we are lucky to have a thriving community of small businesses selling everything from food to fashion.

On top of that there’s something special about shopping at a small, locally-owned business. Maybe it’s the personal touch that you don’t find at big chains, or the fact that your purchase supports someone’s dream. Whatever the reason, more and more people are choosing to shop local – and that includes supporting female-owned businesses.

The Reward Outweighs the Risk

Why are we still uncertain about shopping locally? Is it because we think the conglomerates of the world know us better? Can they meet our expectations quicker? Can they easily replace products/services we are dissatisfied with? Maybe, but so too can local businesses.

Yes it may be in fashion to shop online – but I can guarantee your local stores are online too and if they’re not, your inquiry may just start the chain reaction that sees them enter the online world!

In addition, the reward often outweighs the risk of shopping locally. Small businesses often provide a more personalized service than large chains and chances are you probably have a mutual friend with the owner (Ireland is a small place after all!). These interactions help to gain trust and build relationships meaning repeat & happy customers and sellers!

The Benefits of Shopping Local 

There are plenty of benefits to shopping locally that we hope will change your mind the next time you are considering buying from the Amazons of the world. Here’s just a few.

  1. Boosts the local economy

When you shop at a small, locally-owned business, your money circulates within the community, supporting other businesses and creating job opportunities. It also encourages entrepreneurship and helps to create a thriving business environment which means bigger and better ideas and bigger and better products just down the road! No more waiting for the postman to arrive!

  1. It builds relationships 

Shopping local allows you to get to know the people who own and operate businesses in your area. This can lead to lasting relationships and a sense of community. Building a customer base is so important for small businesses. Chances are if you are one of these customers, the owner does a happy dance when they see you coming – and who doesn’t want to see that?!

  1. Shopping local supports sustainability 

Sustainability is really on trend at the moment and if you are looking to contribute, this is the easiest way to do it. Local businesses are often more sustainable than big chains as they source their products from local suppliers and use less transportation. This helps to protect the environment and reduce your carbon footprint.

Small businesses such as Dublin Herbalists and The Book Resort tend to source their products locally, which means that there is less transport involved. This reduces emissions and helps to protect the environment.

On top of that when you purchase from businesses such as these, you are ensuring that the businesses products are ending up on the right kind of shelves – in your home and not in a shop window.

  1. Offers unique products 

Small businesses often offer unique products that you can’t find at big chain stores. Most of the time they tend to be personalized or customizable – the perfect gift some would say! This is because they’re not mass-produced and are made with care and attention to detail.

  1. Provides excellent customer experience 

Small businesses usually offer better customer service than large corporations. This is because they rely on repeat customers and word-of-mouth to stay in business, so they’re more likely to go above and beyond to meet your needs.

On top of this, being able to tell a real life human exactly what you are looking for removes all the miscommunication and helps to find the perfect product!

Ok You Have Me On Board with Shopping Local But Where Do I Start? 

This may seem a little over the top, but truly, some people don’t know where to begin! This is particularly true of consumers who live in crowded cities. Visiting your nearest shop can often be an anxious experience. For this reason we have put together a few unique ways to find the best locally owned, independent Irish businesses today…

– Ask family and friends for recommendations (I can guarantee you they got that new wrist pocket from Dust and Rock)

– Check out online directories

– Do a search on Google or your preferred search engine. The odds are if there’s a popular shop nearby that sells amazing, locally produced products, they’ll pop up here!

Once you’ve found a few businesses that you’re interested in, take some time to browse their products or services. Many local businesses have an online presence these days, so you can often get a good idea of what they offer before you even step foot in the door. And if you’re ever unsure, just ask! The staff at local businesses are usually more than happy to help.

What Businesses Are Worth It?

We may be a little biased but the majority of small Irish businesses are SO worth it! But we are more than happy to name a few of our favorites here…

All of these amazing businesses are online and ready to help! Just visit their websites for more info!

Struggling To Get Your Business Off The Ground? | Tips For Local Businesses 

We understand the struggle that independently owned businesses have when it comes to competing with huge global chains so here are a few tips to help get your business off the ground in order to enable more customers to shop with you!

  1. Create a website. This is your first step towards establishing an online presence. Make sure your website is user-friendly and includes clear information about your products and services.
  2. Use social media. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great for promoting your business to a wider audience. Make sure to post regularly and interact with your followers.
  3. Get listed in online directories. Sites like Google Maps and Yelp can help potential customers find your business when they’re searching for products or services you offer. Listings are typically free, so take advantage of this easy way to reach new customers.
  4. Run online ads. Paid advertising can be an effective way to reach people who are already interested in what you have to offer. Platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook Ads offer targeting options that allow you to specifically target your local market.
  5. Create a community that offers advice. Someone may want to be your customer but right now, for whatever reason, they can’t. When you build a community outside of sales, you’re offering potential customers a space to communicate with your business. That means when they think of purchasing the products you produce in the future, you will be the first to spring to mind!

Join The Movement 

So there you have it – a few reasons to shop local, and some tips on how to do it. From getting the best prices and supporting your community, to enjoying unique experiences – whatever your reason, make sure you take full advantage of all that shopping local has to offer. From small businesses to big box stores, there’s something for everyone when it comes to shopping close to home.

Now get out there and support your community! Your wallet and the Irish economy will thank you for it!