Shopping Local in Canada : Five Up-To-Date Stats You Need To Know (And What They Mean For Small Biz Owners)
Small business owners have been through a LOT over the last two+ years.
Keeping a business going through lockdowns, capacity limits and a seemingly ever-changing slew of restrictions was no easy feat. Many of those who made it through did so only by the very narrowest margin.
The post-pandemic recovery process will be far from linear. In August 2022 alone, the Canadian economy lost 40,000 jobs. Inflation, an unpredictable housing market, supply chain issues and the looming possibility of a recession are all impacting consumer behaviours.
If you run a small business, tracking market trends can be incredibly helpful – but it can also be super confusing! That’s why we’ve pulled together five statistics we think every small business owner should know (up-to-date as of October 2022) and some key takeaways for you to ponder.
1. 86% of Canadian consumers say supporting small businesses is important to them. (source)
As we continue to ride out post-pandemic turbulence, it is comforting to know that customer intent sways in favour of local businesses.
This should impact the narrative you will adopt as a business; positive messaging goes a long way. You don’t need to convince your customers that shopping local matters. They already believe it! But you do need to meet them where they’re at – and this takes some strategic thinking (and good communication).
2. 46% of consumers say that the friendliness and overall attitude from owners/staff impact their decision to support a business. (source)
Good vibes only, baby! The atmosphere you create around yourself and your business is powerful, and will keep your customers coming back. For comparison, just 29% of respondents to the same poll gave “good prices” as a reason for supporting a local business. If these numbers tell a story, it’s that the vibe you give off pays off.
3. 29% of Canadians are actively visiting comparison sites to find the product they want. (source)
Supply chain issues are making it difficult for some businesses to stay on top of customer demand. While some customers will wait to purchase until the product is restocked, others will actively seek out somewhere else to buy.
If your business is being impacted by delays in the supply chain, you may need to provide some incentives to your customers so they don’t go looking elsewhere while they wait – maybe offering a special discount code, or other exclusive offers/first dibs to those who sign up for your email list.
4. 66% of Canadian consumers report a company’s social actions and ethical standards to heavily influence their decision to purchase. (source)
Canadians are increasingly attracted to companies with strong social action initiatives and a commitment to transparency and ethical conduct. This might include supporting equity and diversity among staff, or involvement in local community initiatives. If you’re a local business, getting involved in your community and being vocal about your values could win you the loyalty of customers you wouldn’t have reached otherwise.
5. 73% of consumers believe that businesses should diversify their product or service offerings to combat inflation and market pressures. (source)
One really simple way to diversify your business is to establish or enhance your online offerings. Add an e-commerce element to your website if you don’t already have one; or try building out your online marketing strategies through paid ads or SEO. If you sell exclusively online, consider where you might also be able to offer in-person sales. If you’re a handmade business, can you open a physical location? If not, can you sell some of your products in another retail setting? What about educational offerings – webinars, e-courses, or other digital products like e-books and whitepapers that can be put behind a paywall? Can you offer any kind of subscription service? These are all questions to consider when you’re thinking about diversification.
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These are unprecedented times, and the water’s still pretty wild. But keeping our finger on the pulse of the most relevant trends and statistics might just help us stay on top of each wave as it comes – keeping in mind that customer connection is always going to be the central goal.