Muriel Protzer is a policy analyst for B.C. and Alberta with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business

COLUMN: Avoid the online temptation and buy local

Muriel Protzer is a policy analyst with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Nothing says season’s greetings more than a warm chai latte, the smell of peppermint oil in a diffuser, and targeted advertisements.

I’m sure you have noticed the countless ads, each one blaring at the top of its lungs,“The biggest sale you can’t afford to miss!”

And I get it. They’re eye-catching. The adrenaline rush from clicking “order now” is so strong, we often forget to even consider where our money is going (hint: big international corporations).

Shopping online can be addictively convenient, but it hurts local retailers more than you may think.

It’s called showrooming. It’s the act of visiting a local business, getting expert advice from the employees, maybe even snapping a picture so you don’t forget, and intentionally walking away to order the same or similar item online to save a few dollars.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. A recent survey conducted among members of the Angus Reid forum suggests 55 per cent of Canadians admit to showrooming.

My generation is particularly guilty of this, with three out of four shoppers ages 18 to 34 reporting that they showroom. While it may save you a few bucks (or maybe not – sometimes the flashy sale is just a façade, and don’t forget import tariffs, shipping and other hidden fees), it’s having a major impact on local businesses.

Almost two-thirds of independent retailers suspect they have had customers come in to check out an item only to go home and buy it online. Nearly all of those businesses indicate it has affected their sales, with a third saying it’s been significant. Every dollar that ends up with a big online corporation isn’t just leaving our local economy, it’s leaving our community.

Your neighborhood businesses support local jobs, donate to local charities, and sponsor or host local events like a Santa Claus parade or a winter market offering locally made goods.

Local businesses also offer you, the buyer, a much more personalized shopping experience, greater product knowledge, and unique product selection. These things don’t come with a price tag. Increasingly, consumers are trying to get the best of both worlds: Amazon prices with small business’s expertise.

READ MORE: How one B.C. thrift shop is connected to a small island in the Philippines

Those benefits start to disappear the more we buy online. The deals online may be tempting, but instead of waiting for two-to five-day delivery (because who actually pays for same-day shipping?), try exploring the options at your neighborhood’s original same-day-delivery dealers, your independent businesses. When you shop local, your community is better off for it.

Muriel Protzer is a policy analyst for B.C. and Alberta with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Independent candidate Martin Holzbauer, BC NDP candidate Nicole Halbauer, and incumbent BC Liberal candidate Ellis Ross. (Jake Wray/Clare Rayment/Black Press)
Skeena candidates talk Indigenous issues

Residential schools, Coastal GasLink Pipeline, and rights and title among issues addressed

Independent candidate Martin Holzbauer, BC NDP candidate Nicole Halbauer, and incumbent BC Liberal candidate Ellis Ross are running in the Skeena riding. (Jake Wray/Clare Rayment/Black Press)
Skeena candidates talk natural resources

Mining, oil and gas, and forestry are important industries in the Skeena riding

Courtney Preyser is a music teacher and librarian for several schools in Kitimat, and her passion for music and literacy shows in her work. (Clare Rayment)
In Our Valley: Courtney Preyser

Preyser grew up with a passion for music and literacy, which shows in her work and life everyday

<em>Black Press file photo</em>
Clare’s Corner: Giving thanks despite the negatives

Thanksgiving may have passed, but it’s never too late to count your blessings

<em>Black Press file photo</em>
Police look for vehicle after dangerous driving incident

The driver was speeding and failed to pull over for police

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Charges laid against Prince George man, 39, in drug trafficking probe

Tyler Aaron Gelowitz is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 18

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read