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

Ian Baikie is one of the forces behind the Hama?Elas Community Kitchen in downtown Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Food security a basic necessity

To Ian Baikie, helping solve Campbell River’s food insecurity problem is about… Continue reading

Since July 1, Campbell River Search and Rescue has been activated 20 times to respond to calls for people all over Vancouver Island. ( Campbell River Search and Rescue/Facebook)
Demand for Campbell River Search and Rescue volunteers keeps growing

Training is a crucial part of being a member of Campbell River… Continue reading

Alex Witcombe of Drifted Creations works in the newly-opened Walter Morgan Studio on a new work during the first Art & Earth Festival. This year’s festival will look very different. Mirror File Photo
Campbell River’s annual Art+Earth Festival sees major changes in third year

‘In a sense, we’re re-defining what a festival can be,’ says organizer Ken Blackburn

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

Ocean Legacy Foundation members conduct a shoreline pollution cleanup in Vancouver. (OLP)
It’s time to end ‘suffocating’ plastic pollution along B.C. shorelines, advocates urge

This Earth Day, Ocean Legacy Foundation is launching a free educational platform to educate the public about plastic pollution

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. university rowing coach ‘deeply sorry’ after complaints

Barney Williams says he’s been committed to ensuring no other member of the roster had a similar experience

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
B.C. teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
An Island girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus is putting a 41-passenger electric bus through its paces in a three-month trial run between Nanaimo and Victoria. (Photo submitted)
Electric bus on trial run serving Victoria-to-Nanaimo route

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus trying out 41-seat electric coach for three months

The Coastal Fire Centre is looking ahead to the wildfire season on Vancouver Island. (Phil McLachlan – Western News)
Coastal Fire Centre looking ahead at wildfire season on Vancouver Island

‘We’re asking people in the spring to be very careful’

There are lots of resources for seniors looking for information about COVID-19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
COVID questions? Here are some phone-based resources available for seniors

Here is a list of numbers to keep on hand for Vancouver Islanders who aren’t fond of computers

Chum Salmon fry being examined with multiple motile and attached sea lice on Vargas Island. (Cedar Coast Field Station photo)
Study: Tofino fish farm sea lice infestations add fuel to push to remove open pens

Ahousaht First Nation asking for higher standards than what DFO requires

Most Read