By Roman Mukendi, AMIBA Resilient Local Economies Intern

After a long period of business disruption and home confinement (lockdowns) due to COVID, people now crave meaningful connections across all facets of life—including commerce.  As you may know, a physical business space is not just about buying and selling goods and services, but it also uniquely serves as a point of social interaction and networking for community members.

By shopping from independent (indie) shops, you bump into a friend, connect with a business owner, and hear the latest local news — you get so much more than a product or service.  For instance, evidence suggests that product shortages motivate nearly half of all chain stores to switch to other alternative products, and 46% of consumers move to competitors who have the products they want in stock.  Local indies perfectly provide that expectation for seamless immediacy to get what you want in a personal way.  Many local independent businesses can get your orders of specific products in advance. They will stock your item and have it availed to you almost immediately.

In a recent study by Shopify-plus entitled ‘‘Commerce Trends 2023’’, Shaza Mahmoud, head of retail at Daily Paper, re-affirms this call for immediacy by the public everywhere.  She notes, “While we see customers really interested in coming back into the shop space and having a personal approach, they’ve also gotten used to having everything immediately.” She adds, ‘‘Consumers want their shopping to be personal, instant, and responsive—and they want that high-value experience anywhere.’’

The big message here is that when you Choose Indie Local, you’re not just providing support for community entrepreneurship. Still, you’re buying unique products with convenience, and you’re also experiencing personalized customer service.  The argument is that your buying decisions should be deliberate to support independent businesses and become a conscious part of your daily purchasing habit.  In turn, independent businesses must demonstrate authenticity, transparency, and accountability as consumers increasingly support their businesses and their sustainable products.

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