Remember Eaton’s department store?
Before there was Amazon, Wayfair and eBay, there was Eaton’s. You could shop in-person at a department store. If getting to a store was difficult, or you lived rurally, you could count on receiving the Eaton’s catalogue twice a year. You could call up Eaton’s and a real person would answer the phone (within Canada) and take your order which would be quickly delivered by an Eaton’s owned truck to your front door or if you lived rurally, it could be picked up at an Eaton’s depot in your small town.
Those were the days! But you can still have some of that same experience today when you shop online through local retailers. Many of the bricks and mortar shops and merchants in our own town, region and province offer a similar experience when you purchase from their on-line shops. It can be very convenient to shop online especially if transport is an issue, or if you live rurally or if there’s some other reason shopping in person is difficult (like say, a pandemic…).
Not all retailers have an on-line store, but many do and it’s becoming increasingly common. Like Eaton’s of the past, it’s often easy to reach out to the merchant and get a real person on the phone or via text/email if you have questions about your order.
Of course, this is also a great way to shop local and support local businesses. Many local merchants also source their wares locally. So, when they offer them for sale online, you’re often buying locally manufactured items further supporting businesses in our own communities.
But shopping online can have a big carbon footprint if you don’t pay careful attention to what you’re buying and from whom. Many online merchants use Canada Post for delivery or large and efficient couriers like Purolator and UPS which have local depots and adhere to corporate initiatives around environmental sustainability. Local shops often offer curbside pick-up saving the cost of shipping altogether plus it’s environmentally friendly.
Online consignment shops inherently recycle which is another way to be green. And some of the larger online marketplaces allow you to filter searches for local or Canadian stores and local pickup.
Frequently on-line shops offer a gift-card option too. This can be a great way to give or send someone a personalized gift for their favourite shop or restaurant to use in their own hometown.
So what should you look for when shopping local online?
- Do you have a favourite merchant or store you like to visit? See if they have an online store.
- Look at the merchandise they offer for sale. Is it from local manufacturers? Do they identify if products are made in Canada? Or at least North America?
- How do they ship their products? Do they offer local pickup?
- Does the online store offer customer support? Is there a number you can call, text or email if you have questions? (Have you ever noticed a lot of online websites make it very difficult to find out where they’re located or how to contact them? – this can be a sign that customer service will be difficult to obtain).
- Does the online marketplace allow you to filter the shop location? (Etsy for example allows you to see shops just in Canada if you choose that filter)
ArtMed is launching their new ecommerce website today (April 5th, 2021). Here you can find a wide variety of skincare and beauty products that are available at ArtMed’s clinic in downtown Guelph. You can shop for brands including Vivier Skin, Alastin Skincare, AlumierMD, Envy Pillows, Glo Skin Beauty Makeup and more while supporting this local clinic.
In ArtMed’s on-line store they strive to provide products from Canadian companies that manufacture in Canada as well. They identify where products are manufactured, and ship with Canada Post. Even the online platform is Canadian – they use Shopify. Shoppers are encouraged to give ArtMed a call/text/email if they have any questions about products that are offered for sale. Like many other businesses right now, ArtMed offers curbside pickup as an option to save on delivery costs for local customers. They also try to keep online customers as informed as in-store shoppers when it comes to sales and offers. The online store is as easy to navigate as an Eaton’s catalogue…
Plus ArtMed is offering 10% OFF site wide to celebrate their ecommerce launch. This offer is available starting April 5th and runs until April 9th, 2021. Visit shopartmed.ca to find truly effective skincare and beauty products.
Shop local, shop on-line – to do so is not mutually exclusive!