When we talk about buying local, we often point to things like how that contributes financially to the area where you live, how it helps your neighbors, and how it keeps big retail from destroying local businesses (Amazon is often held up as the evil entity in that fight). But while each of these points have merit, there are three technical reasons to buy local that are more personally beneficial, and we will cover them here.
Let’s get started.
Products More Localized
When a product is conceived, the people that conceive it do so based on their own experiences. If those folks are in China, there is little likelihood that they will have any idea of what people need where you live. This was one of the things that companies like Toyota discovered when it tried to penetrate the U.S. automotive market. Products designed in Japan did not do well in the U.S., but once Toyota opened a U.S. design center, its success skyrocketed because it better understood the customer.
When a smaller company develops a product, customer feedback drives both initial and eventual product decisions over time. This makes it more likely that a local manufacturer will potentially understand and be better able to meet your unique needs than a remote company.
Potentially More Responsive
I say “potentially” because I’m sure we’ve all had experiences with local people that aren’t responsive, but, unlike a remote company, what we say on locally oriented social media platforms like Nextdoor matters to them and, if it doesn’t, we can drop in on them personally to share our dissatisfaction, providing a much stronger impact than calling someone in another part of the world to express those same views.
In addition, you’re more able to create a deeper relationship with the company which provides benefits in terms of better treatment because they know you. If you have an issue, it is far better if the vendor knows you in terms of how they respond. Think of it. You are more responsive if someone you know calls you to your job rather than some arbitrary person you have never met. With a local vendor, you can build a relationship that would be difficult if not impossible for a remote vendor or service.
As I mentioned above, we often talk about helping our neighbors. When a vendor is local and you are working closely with them, you are more likely to find out about job openings and opportunities than if you were working with a remote vendor. Unless you want to relocate, even finding out about an opening at a remote vendor would do you little good if you had to relocate to take the job and are unwilling to leave to do so.
While we may never work for a local supplier, many of us have kids, relatives or friends who are looking for jobs, and this greater access to a local company could enable us to pitch a family member or friend to a vendor we have a relationship with, and, depending on the depth of that relationship and the business’s need, a local vendor provides a better job safety net if we or someone we know suddenly finds themselves unemployed or in need of a job change.
Buying local does help the local economy, but the personal benefits may be more significant. Those benefits are solutions that better meet our personal and regional needs, responsiveness from the employer (this depends on the vendor) and increased job opportunities that you otherwise would be less likely to know of that could help you and those you care about. But to get these benefits, you do have to develop a relationship with the local vendor. If you aren’t willing to create that relationship, then the benefit of using the localized vendor will be reduced.
So, when given the choice, buy local. It’s in your best interest to do so.