The Human Side of Business: Local Shops vs Chain Retailers

Why local shops will always have an advantage!

Local businesses are not only there to sell products. They are part of the local community and their business exists in the neighbourhood that it does because their owners want to be involved in that community. When we visit a chain retailer, we feel like just another number in a long line of people. Which is a negative aspect of those chain businesses that local businesses have an advantage in by combating that with a personal touch.

As a business owner, it is important to make a connection with your customers and make them feel special when they walk in your store. When this is done, customers will remember, and come back again and again!

Whether you are a business owner or a consumer, you should care about this because it impacts you! It affects your local environment, economy, community, etc. It also greatly affects your shopping experience, which is what I will be focusing on in this blog.

Shopping locally and shopping at a chain retailer are two very different experiences, and there are three key reasons why, especially when it comes to the human aspect of business. In the rest of the article I will lay out these three key ways.

Making connections

You are much more likely to make a personal connection with a local business owner or employee

Locally-owned stores have a more intimate, personal environment, while big name retailers have a more fast-paced and impersonal atmosphere. It has been proven that humans desire to connect, and shopping locally allows connections in a way that larger retailers do not. As they take the time to attend to your unique needs, remember your name and so on, because they care and they value your business.

We have become especially aware of the fact that we desire connections since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic as people had to isolate themselves from each other, making them crave human interactions more than ever. And another reason why individuals have become even more aware of the importance of local businesses, as they satisfy this, and have put more effort into making the customers feel these connections.

One of the things that makes it more likely to make connections in local shops is that the owners are often actually in their store. And/or they have trusted employees that are just as passionate about the products or services they provide. This by itself creates a different, more comfortable environment. And also means that if you frequent certain local shops, you may actually get to know the people. They are often more warm and friendly, as making connections is a part of what they love as well.

The individuals working in local shops care about what they sell, therefore you can talk to them about their products and services, and they will likely love to talk to you about them too. After all, they are the ones who actually created the business, and put a lot of time and effort into it.

The people who work in these shops have stronger relationships with their customers than the employees of chain retailers because they have an opportunity to interact with them more, as well as have an actual desire for connection. And these interactions make the experience for the customer much more special.


Local shops are much more unique in the way that they do business, and with their products and services

Small businesses have much more unique products and services than chain retailers. Chain stores often have tons of the same product in every store across the country or world. Whereas small businesses generally specialize in much more specific things. A lot of local businesses will have a niche, such as soap or gelato. This also means that they have put a lot of thought into what they sell, and are passionate about it.

The products are also often better quality, lasting longer, and are better than at a chain retailer. This is because they don’t cut corners for an easy buck, they care about their products, and their customers. The products are often also more interesting, whether it be the way they are made, or the back story behind them, rather than being a generic item that you can get anywhere. Why wouldn’t you want something unique?

Connect with CommunityBetter customer service

You will get much better customer service at a local business

Good customer service means being friendly, accommodating, having product knowledge, etc. Local business owners usually excel in these areas compared to their chain retailer counterparts. This is because they can actually tell you what is special about their products, why they made them like this, and many more things about them. They are also happy to talk to consumers about their products or services, because they care about them, and love to share their knowledge. You will get some great information about them that you would not get at a chain retailer.

How these come together

Local business owners are more passionate about their products and services. This is because they are likely the ones who came up with the idea for the shop and have thought it through, planned it, and care about it. They put a lot of thought into each little thing in their shop such as the ingredients and the decor.

The aspects of connection, uniqueness, and good customer service all come together and support each other in order to create an amazing shopping experience. They come up with a unique idea, they are passionate about their products and services, and therefore they will want to talk about them, and connect with consumers, as they obviously have a similar interest in whatever their business is providing. They will be excited to tell customers about it, and can personalize their customer service, which is really what good customer service looks like.

These are just three ways that showcase the differences between local shops and chain retailers, and there are more. But you can probably see how these three aspects are very important when it comes to having a good shopping experience. These categories are ones that chain retailers just cannot compete with local businesses in.

This is why Locate Local was created. It is a local shop directory, but what makes it stand out is that it has the values of the stores and video interviews with the owners of the stores. These videos and values are what allow more personalization and improve consumers’ local shopping experience and foster their understanding of the importance of buying locally. Sign up for Locate Local today!