What's wrong with wanting to shop locally?
We sell both locally in our brick and mortar shop and worldwide via
the Internet. Frankly, we wouldn’t make it on sales to locals alone.
That is perfectly understandable considering the number of jewelry
supply stores in our area. (I counted 29 bead businesses in our city
a while back.)
I can tell you I prefer selling via Internet, as I don’t get the
shoplifting that I get in the store.
You will find some brick and mortar stores are more expensive than
Internet shopping. There are a couple reasons, the number one being
the cost of rent. The other being the immediacy of the competition
online - it’s just one click away. We have found that we must price
our items as low as we possibly can in order to compete online. We
have the same prices in our shop. However, we wouldn’t be able to do
that if we had our shop on the first floor (we’re in an upstairs
location where the rent is lower.)
Many of our customers say they prefer seeing the beads and other
items in person - being able to touch and feel them, take them out
into the sunlight, etc. I don’t blame them. Then there is the cost of
shipping, although that is sometimes less than parking (depending on
the location.) We ship for free, if the customer chooses to use the
lowest cost mail service. That is a significant cost to us, but we
figure it to be a form of advertising.
Personally, I think a business that doesn’t have an online side to
it is not going to do as well as one that does. However, there are
ways to compensate, such as offering classes and other forms of
entertainment or education in the shop.
One thing I can say that the shop offers to the seller (unlike the
Internet) is customer feedback. So, an Internet-only business may not
be as in touch with customer desires as a shop.
I think a smart buyer will shop online first, to get an idea of
pricing and availability, then if a local supplier has the item at a
competitive price go there in person to make sure they are getting
what they want. There is nothing like in-person shopping to assure
happiness with a purchase.
Sun Country Gems