The pandemic saw a rise in New Zealanders buying locally and supporting those businesses ‘down the road’.

The government and business bodies pushed for Kiwis to support local businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Now that trend might be here to stay. New Zealanders may have become used to thinking and buying locally.

Are Kiwis still shopping local? 

More than 50 per cent of Kiwis always or often purchase local products and services, either physically or online, according to the latest MYOB Consumer Insights survey.

Four out of five people shop at least once a month at a local small business premises.

More than a third shop locally every week, and one in 10 visits a local store most days.

At the same time, local businesses, unable to import the key materials they need for their business because of supply chain issues, are turning to fellow local businesses to supply their needs. It’s often a win-win situation.

There are many perks to shopping locally, and it isn’t just about convenience. Many New Zealanders believe it’s also a way they can support the community and the national economy.

Kiwis see our local businesses as more likely to be more ethical, and environmentally and sustainably friendly.

 

More than 50 per cent of Kiwis always or often purchase local products and services

What's stopping Kiwis from shopping local? 

Unfortunately, some shoppers see disadvantages in supporting local businesses, with price being one of the top issues.

More than 60 per cent believe buying locally is more expensive than buying from international retailers, with only 12 per cent saying they believed local retailers to be more affordable, according to MYOB Consumer Insights. There’s no doubt the cost of living in New Zealand is increasingly painful, but many countries are seeing similar inflation jumps. As a small business, you may need to demonstrate your products are as competitive price-wise as the international equivalent with some tailored marketing.

Eight tips to promote your local business

So, while many New Zealanders remain committed to buying locally, you may still need to promote, market, and demonstrate why they should support you.

  • For small business owners, it’s important to network with other local businesses. Check if there are any local business groups in your area. Talking to other small businesses could give you promotional ideas as well as possible referrals. 
  • Social media can be an important way to promote your business, such as on Facebook community pages.
  • Offering discounts and rewards can be a great way to promote your local business, especially with word-of-mouth promotions. 
  • Make sure your customer service is top drawer. In a small community, word-of-mouth can make or break a business, so giving customers a positive experience is essential. 
  • Set up a customer referral program, offering existing customers an incentive for referring new customers. 
  • Support a local cause you’re passionate about. By supporting a charity or local organisation, such as a sports team, you can also help to promote your business ethics and social awareness. 
  • While distributing flyers may seem old-fashionable, they’re still strong marketing tools. Pop some in the local café, pub or supermarket. 
  • Ensure that you’re advertising on your premises.
  • Develop branding for your company vehicles and your shop front.

Why it can be beneficial for your small business to go digital

The pandemic led to a sharp rise in online purchasing and the options available. 

But it can be more convenient for New Zealanders to deal with a local supplier online, who may be able provide products quicker.

Consumers may also feel safer with a local online supplier, with the rise of cybercrime.

That’s why it can be critical to establish a good digital presence, even if you are just aiming locally.

Some consumers research and make decisions before they even walk into a local premises, even if they’re local.

A good, easy-to-navigate website is vital, so it could be worth bringing in an expert.

About 96% said the usability and navigation of a brand's website were important to them when shopping online, according to the MYOB Consumer Insights survey.

Do you have the right cover?

If you’re making changes to your business, it could be a good time to check whether you have the right cover.

Talk to a broker to find out what insurance and protection you could benefit from.

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