A Guest Post by Mark Broadly
The push to shop locally has gained a lot of momentum, in recent years, as more people see the value of investing in small businesses within their community. But, with the popularity and convenience of online shopping, it can be tempting to make all your purchases from eCommerce conglomerates. The good news? Tons of small, family-owned businesses are turning to the internet to sell their products and attract a new customer base that appreciates the personal touch and vested interest family business owners have to offer. Next time you’re shopping for a big purchase, keep in mind some of these top reasons for supporting a family-owned business.
Build a Sense of Community
Even family-owned eCommerce businesses have the ability to create a sense of community. Small-town retail stores can help support a community, but family-owned online businesses also use their position to give back not only to their community but others as well.
When you know more about a company’s back story, where the owners came from and how the business came together, you have a greater emotional investment in the business and, in turn, a stronger sense of trust. Family business owners care deeply about their reputation, business, and customers, creating a strong sense of community among those who follow and support the company.
Adds a Personal Touch
Everybody loves a good story. When it comes to family-owned businesses, there’s always an interesting story behind how the company formed and the goals of the family. When you purchase from family-owned businesses, you get to understand a little more about the company and who is creating the products that you’re buying. Because you can have a more direct connection with the business owners, you tend to notice that they also have a more personal interest in their customers.
Loyalty is everything to a family business, which means that most of these companies place an emphasis on building strong customer relationships through the personalized shopping experience. This might be offering exclusive discounts to repeat customers, sending personalized thank you letters with each purchase, or simply offering quick and easy customer support around the clock.
As a consumer, we tend to think of businesses as existing to service us and provide goods that we want and need. But, consumers are the ones who can make or break a business and help support the economy. Of course, buying from big business is sometimes a necessity, but, when you have the opportunity to make purchases from small family-owned businesses, you are helping this aspect of the economy to thrive and providing companies with the resources to hire more people and expand their influence.
Some of the greatest inventions and new ideas have come from ordinary people who owned a small business or created their own venture as a way to break into an industry and shake things up. It’s so important for shoppers to support the little guy and give these family-owned businesses the opportunity to expand and bring new ideas to the world.
Owners Are More Invested in Customers
For the business owners of huge corporations, it’s difficult to have a personal interest in each one of their customers. The business operation has reached such a large scale, these owners are often disconnected from the day-to-day happenings of their own company. They typically don’t even know the employees that are responsible for working directly with customers. Because of this, it’s pretty difficult for business owners to truly care about each of their shoppers.
But, for small family-owned businesses, their customers mean everything to them. To build a strong customer base, a company needs to provide outstanding products, make their shoppers feel valued, and offer excellent customer service. As a consumer yourself, these are all elements of a business that you should care about and look for. The more the business owner cares about his or her customers, the better an experience you’ll receive.
Have you ever tried contacting a company with a big corporation, maybe about a return or a faulty product? Yeah, we’ve been there, too. It can be pretty tough to reach a customer support member via phone and, even when you do, there’s often a lack of communication on what can be done about your situation. Big businesses just have too much going on to be able to handle individual concerns all the time. With family-owned businesses, there’s usually fewer company demands taking up the owners’ time, which allows them to offer quick and easy support on an individual basis. Smaller, family-owned businesses want to guarantee satisfaction. Many let customers try high-end products to ensure you are getting the right product for your needs.
Offer Unique Products
Family businesses need a way to stand out, especially from big corporations. With any small business, you’ll find that they’ve put extra thought into which products they offer, wanting to ensure quality and uniqueness for their customers. This is what can set them apart not only from other small businesses but large enterprises. Some small businesses, that have handmade, or custom products, are great options to ensure what you are getting is unique to you.
As a customer, this is a huge advantage to purchasing from family businesses. You have access to products that you can’t find anywhere else. You don’t want to be rocking that same thing as everybody else—you want something that fits your style and attitude. And, the best place to find that is through a small family-owned business.
Family Businesses Have a Greater Investment in Their Companies
Just as family business owners have a greater interest in their customers, they tend to have a greater interest in their overall business as well. When you’ve built something from the ground up, you usually care more and have more responsibility within the company because you have that personal investment in the business. Again, for customers, this is a huge advantage. It means that the owners are putting more work and thought into everything they do, from customer service and return policies to product quality and enticing sale offers.
Today’s shoppers have an overwhelming number of options when it comes to where to buy products. While big corporations hold a lot of sway over consumers, purchasing from family-owned businesses can provide people with a more enjoyable buying experience. Because family business owners have a greater interest in their business, consumers can benefit from more helpful customer support and more trust in the company and can find unique products that stand out from the competition.