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

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

It costs as little as $7 to charge an EV at home. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Electric Vehicles a rare sight (in the Kootenays), but change on the way

Electric pickups will increase the appeal of zero-emission vehicles in years to come according to Blair Qualey of the New Car Dealers Association

Linda Krawczyk and her dad Doug Finney enjoyed a ride around beautiful Fernie on Friday thanks to Melanie Wrigglesworth and the local chapter of Cycling Without Age. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Cycling Without Age goes for its first spin

Doug Finney (86) got to enjoy a ride around Fernie

The Cranbrook Community Forest is good to go for mountain biking. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Snow’s done, time to hit the trails

South Country trails are good to go

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read