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How to Buy Online from Local Businesses

Shopping at local businesses online stores is an excellent thing for you and your local community. If you're wondering how to continue supporting local businesses while shopping online, we've got you covered!

Why You Should Shop Online With Small Businesses


Particularly for those of us who lead busy lives and have full-time jobs, it can be challenging to get out there and shop with local businesses as much as we may want. These companies' online stores allow you to do this without going out of your way!


Doing your shop online also comes with many advantages for consumers. It allows us to see all of the business's products in one convenient online marketplace and to think about our purchase before making it. It is highly time-efficient and allows the product to be delivered to our doors, or sent as gifts directly to others. 


Fulfilling your purchase online brings all the benefits of shopping with small businesses in person, but with all of these bonuses too!

From the perspective of local businesses, being able to sell online protects them from the effects of things like the lockdown restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic. 


All small businesses should sell online where possible, as it is vital to secure their future and present! Likewise, it is an excellent way for consumers to contribute to a thriving local community even when they may not have time to visit stores in person.

How To Buy Online From Local Businesses


We are now doing more of our shopping online than ever before. While this is highly convenient for most of us, it can have drawbacks. It can lead to consumers shopping from chain stores as they are so easy to find online, and while in the past we may have strolled around our local area and called into local stores as we saw them, online shopping might seem like it doesn't allow for the same degree of discovery.


Online shopping can offer even more scope for discovering small businesses. We simply need to know how to do it! Luckily, this is a slight adjustment, and let's break it down step-by-step, so you know exactly how to shop small from independent brands in your area!

Use An Online Local Directory

Local directories are your best friend when finding small businesses in your area! Particularly a local online directory such as Local Tales, as it allows for frequent updates to its listings and has a rating and review feature so you can find the best stores in your area. It is your one-stop shop for finding small businesses in your area!


If you're in Australia and looking for businesses of any variety, local directories are dedicated to helping you find them.

Enter Your Search Terms

To begin your search using the online directory, first, you need to enter your suburb or postcode. If you're unsure what you're looking for and want to find independent brands in your local area, you could stop here and simply scroll through the extensive listings of small businesses!


However, you can hone your search query further if you want to find something specific. This will yield more precise, tailored results. You can enter a category in the designated search bar, with will return results within a particular industry category; for example, 'building supplies'. 


If you want your search to be even more specific, you can enter particular keywords. For example, you would enter 'pet supplies', and Local Tales will return all relevant results in your area!


All of the necessary details of the small business will be present on the listing, including their website details so that you can go right to their online store!

Consult User Ratings & Reviews!

Local Tales contains a system that allows local customers to leave in-depth reviews of businesses, so you can make an informed decision about where you want to shop online. You can, of course, leave a review yourself when you are done too!


If you don't want to read the reviews, you can also simply gauge the overall quality of the business by looking at its star rating.

Go To Their Website!

As Local Tales listings contain links to the online store of any small business on the website, you can go right to their website and begin shopping! Although things may differ from website to website, the general process for buying something online is straightforward. It mimics shopping in person!

Choose Products & Add Them To Your Basket

Simply scroll through the products on offer, and if you like one, add it to your basket. If it is clothing and accessories, there will usually be a drop-down menu allowing you to choose the size you want. Almost all products will have a drop-down menu that allows you to select the quantity you wish to buy.

Go To Checkout & Finalise Payment

This is just like shopping in person! You've decided what you want to buy, and now want to pay for it. There will usually be a 'go to checkout' option in the top right-hand corner. This will transport you to a page that shows your 'basket'- what you are about to buy- and will usually show you any postage costs too. If you are happy with this, it is time to enter your payment details!


You may have an autofill already set up; if not, simply enter your basic card details, finalise payment, and complete your transaction!

Using An Online Marketplace

If you want to go another route, an online marketplace can be a great place to find your favourite small businesses or local sellers.


Using them is very simple! Set a filter for your local area, so only nearby sellers appear in your search results, then search for a specific item! You can pay with your card details the same as other online stores, or the seller may be willing to deliver the item or have it picked up from their business place or even home, where a cash payment may be taken.


The way each seller chooses to do things may be slightly different depending on who they are or what they are selling. You can often message the seller to make an offer instead of a flat rate found on most businesses' websites. Online marketplaces also usually come with a review system, so you can ensure that the seller is reputable before engaging with them.

Searching For A Known Business

If you already know the business you want to buy from, you can simply use a search engine to find them. This couldn't be simpler; simply enter their business name into your search engine of choice, and the website will usually be the first result that comes up!


This is only the best method if you know exactly what business you are looking for. This is because using a search engine to go directly to the website of a business you have no prior knowledge of comes without the quality assurance that websites that contain guaranteed unbiased user reviews like online directories and online marketplaces have.


Conclusion

Many stores have now transitioned to having an online store as fully-developed and professional as their physical stores themselves. This means that you don't even have to leave your house to contribute towards your community and to shop at your favourite stores. You can have products from your favourite small businesses delivered to your own home!

Online directories are by far the best way to find your favourite stores online. They are perhaps even more useful, however, in helping you find new favourite brands you didn't even know existed in your local area!


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