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Shop Local: A Long-Term Trend for Gen Zers?

At Franchise Ramp, we’ve noticed three growing trends in local marketing for our franchisees in 2020. 1. The consumer journey has gone fully digital/ omnichannel.  2. The revival of community and 3. The growing need to support and shop local. But is the ‘shop local’ trend here to stay?

A new survey by payments solution Sezzle found that consumers are actively more interested in purchasing locally in the long term, as a result of COVID-19.

The survey found that more than half of Gen Z respondents are trying to support local businesses during the pandemic, with 60% asserting that they will continue to shop locally post-COVID-19. Other demographics showed a similar commitment to staying local, with the majority of millennials (55.2%) and Gen Xers (50.5%) saying that they are trying to shop locally right now.

“Consumers both want to know more about their brands and they want to know that how they spend can make an impact,” said Chris Bixby, VP of marketing at Sezzle. “This means brands need to find creative ways to enable consumers to get behind the curtain to learn about the company’s backstory, its history, its support within its local community and its employees.”

The logical conclusion: Curation, product quality, and in-person experience will always win out over convenience when it comes to buying certain experiences.

There’s a lot to learn from the  Shop Local movement, whose lasting success offers franchisees three lessons:

Deliver memorable experiences.

Consumer expectations just keep getting higher. Use your brand’s recognition and standard of quality of service but also your local uniqueness to your advantage. Your focus on specialty and authenticity can set you apart in the minds of your customers to keep them coming back.

One important point here is that offline shopping is no longer utilitarian. Local retailers realized they could win by crafting shopping experiences for their customers that couldn’t be found anywhere else.

Think of your customers as guests; obsess over what will surprise and delight them, and then deliver on that over and over again.

Bring your community together.

Retail has always been a hub of community and belonging. Now more than ever, your local business is a vital part of the color and character of communities across the country.

Think of actions you can take that not only increased foot traffic, but gave your current customers a reason to share their love for business with one other. With new customers, consider how you might foster connection beyond the moment of transaction.

Make sure to check out our post on Franchise Reopening Strategies: Maintaining Your Private Facebook Group.

Local partnerships offer a win-win.

Other local business owners are members of the community – just like you!

They understand the nuances of local culture and find creative ways to contribute to the community while nourishing niche markets.    

The “Buy Local” movement has achieved success by allowing small business owners networking opportunities with like-minded people, while educating consumers on the importance of buying local. The increase in locally-driven sales across America are proof.

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