Has COVID-19 made the ‘shop local’ message more real for consumers?
With the coronavirus pandemic leading to the temporary and possibly permanent closure of scores of local restaurants and stores, the “shop local” movement appears to be getting a huge boost.
The uplift is most evident in the number of families committing to ordering carry-out meals to support local restaurants. Many restaurants are trying to survive only on curbside pickup. The local boost is also being seen by some owners of specialty running stores interviewed by RetailWire. They have likewise introduced curbside fulfillment while amplifying their e-commerce efforts since lockdown measures arrived.
“This pandemic moment is supercharging society’s shop local mindset and highlighting the critical importance of small businesses in our economic makeup,” said Matt Rosetti, co-owner of Brooklyn Running, which operates two stores in Brooklyn, NY and two in Eastern Pennsylvania.
Running shop owners see the local love continuing post-COVID-19.
Josh Levinson, the owner of Charm City Run, which has seven Maryland stores, believes that busy shoppers would often “choose the easiest path” prior to the coronavirus outbreak, and that could mean turning to other options other than local retailers. He doesn’t think that consumers will take local commerce for granted after seeing COVID-19’s impact on their communities.
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To our Charm City Run Community: Thank you. Thank you for choosing to shop with us via phone, email, and online. Thank you for your notes and kind words. We are thinking of you during these unprecedented times and hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and well. ° We want to continue to say thank you: ⭐For every $100 you spend through April 15th, you will earn $20 to use in-store once we re-open our doors.* Any phone, online or delivery orders placed starting Tuesday, March 24th will count towards this promotion. This offer also applies when you purchase online gift certificates. ° SHOP LOCAL OPTIONS: 1️⃣Call or email your local shop for free shipping or free same day delivery (if you live within 10 miles of a shop). 2️⃣Shop online with free shipping. 3️⃣Purchase an online gift certificate to send to a friend or save for later. Click the link in our bio for all details on shopping local with CCR. ° *Once we re-open, your offer is redeemable on all full-price apparel and accessories. Excludes Garmin, sale items, races and training; and is not valid online. ° Live. Give. Run. Be well.
“Everyone likes a local business and wants local businesses to survive,” said Mr. Levinson. “They inherently believe they are important to a community and give a community character.”
By all accounts, many local establishments won’t outlast the pandemic.
A survey of over 1,400 restaurant owners conducted between April 9 and April 13 by The James Beard Foundation found only one in five restaurant owners in cities that are shut down are certain that they will be able to sustain their businesses until normal operations resume. Assuming they can reopen, operating within social distancing guidelines and a slow return of customers are expected to significantly limit revenue opportunities for restaurants and stores in the months ahead.
A global survey from Ernst & Young found that 42 percent of consumers believe the way they shop will fundamentally change as a result of COVID-19, including 34 percent indicating they would pay more for local products.
- NEW SURVEY: Only 1 in 5 Restaurant Owners Are Certain They Can Survive the COVID-19 Crisis Despite Stimulus Assistance, Putting at Risk 11 Million Workers and $1 Trillion Industry Without Urgent Fixes to Paycheck Protection Program – Independent Restaurant Coalition
- Four consumer behavior trends emerge during the COVID-19 pandemic, the first EY Future Consumer Index finds – EY (Ernst & Young)/PRNewswire
- Yelp Economic Average Reveals Rapid Business Closures During COVID-19 in Q1 2020 – Yelp/Business Wire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is COVID-19 giving more license for local retailers to capitalize on their importance to communities? How should they best do so? Do you agree that messages around shopping local will continue to resonate after COVID-19 becomes more manageable?