Does Being Local Still Matter?

Brandon Tidd | November 26, 2019

Amazon can deliver something to your house for free with the click of a mouse. You can now order your groceries from Walmart with your voice. In 2019, do small businesses still matter? In honor of Small Business Saturday, we tackle this question head-on.

The Internet and the Customer Journey

While the Internet may be gaining customer experience efficiencies, we’ve recently discovered it’s also getting better and providing a more holistic view of the customer journey in the offline space. The Internet’s ability to influence local, physical transactions is staggering. Shopify calls Online-to-Offline (O2O) commerce retail’s ‘trillion-dollar opportunity,’ noting that 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases (HubSpot).

The True Importance of Being Local

The era of digital advertising has lowered the barrier to entry for small businesses, while simultaneously giving them access to an unprecedented level of targetability. Local affiliates of big brands are perfectly positioned to capitalize on this shift in consumer behavior. By harnessing the power of national brand recognition at the local level, these business owners are empowered to make an impact in the very communities where they themselves live, work and play.

According to the Small Business Administration, as of 2018 small businesses employed nearly half of the private workforce — nearly 59 million people. In addition to contributing to the local economy, these businesses give back in countless, immeasurable ways. Any local charity or softball team can attest to the importance that local sponsorship dollars have played in the attainment of their goals. And, somewhat unsurprisingly, these business owners are vastly satisfied with their role, with more than half ranking their happiness at a nine or above (10 being the happiest, Guidant Financial).

Even digital pure-plays like Uber and 1-800-Flowers require local people and places to achieve a sustainable business model. And with more than 30 million small businesses covering 99.9% of the country, chances are you won’t have to go far to find a local business ready to help…even if you use the Internet to find them.

Are You Responsible for Activating and Empowering a Network of Local Businesses?

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