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

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

City of Duncan considering an average 3.51 per cent tax increase for 2021. (File photo)
Duncan considers average 3.51% tax increase for 2021

Homeowners would see a $43 increase over last year

North Cowichan councillor Kate Marsh. (File photo)
North Cowichan postpones decision on cell tower placement

But cell tower policy may be developed soon

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

CVRD offices on Ingram Street will remain closed for another 14 weeks after flooding last month. (File photo)
CVRD headquarters closed for another three and a half months

Building significantly damaged during water leak

Victoria police are asking for help locating high-risk missing man Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria April 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Police searching for Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria

Whittaker believed to be driving 1994 red Volkswagen Golf

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

The city asking the public if they want to pursue legal action against the province and their decision to override the city on the Victory Church issue. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton ready to sue province over homeless shelter

City council voted unanimously to authorize legal action

Club Phoenix Fitness in Langford is the first Island business to be ordered closed by the provincial workplace closure order put into effect April 11. It will be closed until at least April 29. (Google Streetview/Screenshot)
Langford gym first Island business to be closed by public health order

Workplace closure order can now close businesses with three or more COVID-19 cases

Police executed a search warrant at the Devils Army Clubhouse on Petersen road in Campbell River on August 10, 2017.
Murder trial into 2016 Campbell River killing underway in Victoria

Ricky Alexander is charged with the first-degree murder of John Dillon Brown

Most Read