5 Reasons Why & 3 Reasons How To Shop & Support Small Businesses

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So what's so important about supporting small businesses? What are the best ways to support them? And how to stay safe when buying directly from small businesses online?

5 Top Reasons To Shop Small

1. Every order matters

Even a little purchase is important to a small business. So they offer better customer service and put the customer experience first. Whilst to a big company, a customer is just another number.

2. Support your local community

Purchasing from a local small business helps keep jobs and money in your local community.

iced latte on table by coffee shop window (Photo Credit: Brodie Vissers)

3. Often ethical and sustainable shopping alternatives

When you shop small, it can be a more ethical and sustainable way of shopping. Not all, but many small businesses try to minimise the impact their business has. They know where they source their supplies from, what packaging they use, etc. Many small businesses are also makers, producing goods locally.

breads at a market bakery (Photo Credit: Sarah Pflug)

4. Unique and original items

Small businesses offer a greater choice and variety of unique and original items. Many will also be able to offer a personalised buying experience.

hands holding gift box tied with a blue ribbon (Photo Credit: Nicole De Khors)

5. Quality products and service

For independent sellers, their business is a reflection of who they are. Therefore they focus on the details. Offering excellent value and good quality products and services.

3 Ways To Support A Small Business

1. Buy direct

Many online small businesses also sell through large marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Not On The High Street etc. It can be difficult for them to drive enough customers to their own website to operate a viable business without selling via marketplaces. These large marketplaces have the advantage of customer numbers. But with higher costs and strict rules for independent sellers to adhere to. If you want to support a small business, then buy direct from their website. If you find them on a marketplace, search their name and see whether they have their own dedicated website you can buy through instead.

open sign on small business door (Photo Credit: Sarah Pflug)

2. Leave a review

If you loved or liked their product, then leave a review to let other customers know what their products and service are like. You can either write a review on their website or a Google review if they have it set up. (Or even better leave reviews on both!) In the case that you've had an issue, then contact them directly to give them a chance to remedy it before leaving your review. Customer service is very important to a small business and they will try to fix any problems for you.

3. Spread the word

Tell others! Recommendations are huge for a small business to gain new customers. So share on social media and in-person to let others know of your wonderful find.

It's Okay To Be Cautious When Buying Direct

Some people may be cautious about buying directly from a small business and that is actually a good thing to be. Unfortunately, there are plenty of scams online and some unscrupulous sellers. So how do you find the genuine and good business sellers?

1. Read their reviews

If they sell in several places online (like in online marketplaces) check out their reviews on the different sites. Don't forget to check any google reviews and customer comments on social media. This helps to see what other customers have made of their products and customer service.

2. Read their shop policies

Okay, I know this is boring and you might not need to read all of them. But a skim over will help you see whether they have a good understanding of selling online and what it means to provide good customer service.

Do their policies cover information about things like: shipping costs; dispatch times; delivery estimates; how to cancel or exchange an order; refund information; how they deal with lost packages; how they deal with incorrect, faulty or damaged items? Do they also have a privacy statement? It should explain what information they collect, how it's used and how you can contact them about your privacy rights.

Having such detailed information shows that they have thought through different customer issues. It lets customers know how they will deal with them given different situations.

3. Find their contact information

Can you find their email address and physical address where you can contact them? Many small businesses will provide a telephone number too, but not all. Individual sellers may only have a personal phone number and prefer to keep all contact via email. Email correspondence allows both the business and customer to have a written record of any discussion, that they can refer back to.

4. Check the site is secure

When purchasing you always want to make sure the web address starts with https - the s stands for secure. You should also see a padlock icon next to the web address.

close up of padlock (Photo Credit: Nicole De Khors)

Know Your Consumer Rights When Shopping Online

The best way to protect yourself when shopping online is to pay via credit card or another secure online payment system like PayPal. If you run into any difficulties with obtaining your money back, you can then contact your payment company to help you get your refund.

Under UK consumer laws you have rights and protections regarding being able to cancel an order, return an item, replacing of faulty items, etc. If you want to find out more, Which? has several advice guides about online shopping consumer rights.

What's Your Favourite Small Business?

Do you have some favourite small businesses you love to support? Leave me a comment below with a link to their websites and I might include them in a future post celebrating small businesses.

hands holding wooden heart over small house (Photo Credit: Sarah Pflug)

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  • Anonymous on

    @Amanda – What a wonderful idea! I had a quick search and read about the Campaign Shop Independent. I’m going to pop the link here for now for anyone else who’s interested – holly.co/campaign/

    @Sally – That Caz’s Kitchen looks yum! I got a tad lost looking around at all the tasty treats…

  • Sally Tyson on

    This is a great post! A subject very close to my heart, I do do my best to support independents.as much as I can and I’m lucky to have a thriving independent street very close by. My favourites are www.florenceandfox.com www.cazskitchen.co.uk and www.littlelightstitchery.co.uk

  • Amanda Brown on

    Thank you for such an informative blog about the reason to support small business. I am part of Holly tuckers shop independent campaign encouraging everyone to spend a £1 a day with small business and that would put 12 billion back into local economics its got to be good! My website is https://www.blueelephantgiftcompany.co.uk/
    I look forward to following your blog.

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