Many consumers today prefer doing business with smaller, local businesses, according to a recent survey conducted by WebVisible, an online marketing firm. Among the reasons cited for this preference are lower prices, a higher quality of goods and more personalized customer service. Included in the survey’s findings was that four out of five consumers would rather patronize local, independent businesses, as opposed to the larger chains.
Respondents indicated that convenience of location and support for the community were two more of their reasons for choosing to shop at small to medium-size businesses. On the flipside, the number who said they preferred the large chains came to only 17 percent. Conducted in April, the survey was part of the kickoff of National Small Business Week, which was the week of May 23. WebVisible surveyed one thousand Americans on their specific attitudes toward local retailers and why they prefer them, with seven possible reasons given to select from in order of importance. “While conventional wisdom would say that price should matter most in a recovering economy, it turns out Americans still make purchase decisions based on service, convenience and supporting their communities,” said WebVisible CEO, Kirsten Mangers. “That’s great news for local merchants. It’s helpful to get a sense of what it is that people love about their neighborhood businesses. If you know what brings people in the door, it’s easier to communicate those values in your advertising and marketing to keep those customers coming back.”
Also ranking highly among respondents’ concerns was direct access to decision makers within a company, and a close relationship with an employee or owner. A full 25 percent actually cited lower price in their top three, contradicting the common belief that independent businesses struggle to compete with big box retailers in that department. Perceptions about price did vary by income and age. For example, those with lower incomes were more likely to cite lower prices as a top reason, and the percentage that named price in the top three lowered as the incomes of the respondents increased.