Shop local movement and technology driven culture – who will be the winner?
Can we change our culture? How could technology help small businesses?
Greater Seattle is a very progressive town. Shop local and organic is practically tattooed on our forehead.
But local does not stop with food. Many of our gyms, yoga studios, and restaurants are increasingly corporately owned, as a consumer we know it feels different to step into a family owned a gym, restaurant or yoga studio. Our world is more and more isolated, and these local small businesses are often the last hold-out of the urban community.
Seattle is also a technologically driven town. We love our Apps that provide convenience, discounts, and one-stop shopping. But very few of us think about the effects of technology. How many butchers and bakers do you know in your community? Small stores are disappearing, for the convenience of big box stores or online deliveries, and we do pay the price for convenience, besides losing important aspects of society that provide community and thus the quality of life, we are also missing out on quality of service. That baker, butcher, tailor provided a lifetime of knowledge to customers and was willing to carry merchandise beyond the top sellers.
Dora and Panni at Spira Power Yoga
Don’t get me wrong, technology is not all bad. Apps and Daily deals are wonderful ways to get the word out to new clients. But I am cautious to only do deals for new customers only, as a small business, I simply cannot operate on these low prices. A large corporate gym is structured differently, they can weather the discount storms a bit better.
The biggest problem for small businesses with technology-driven shopping is that technology has trained our customers for bargain hunting. It is NOT the fault of our customers, it is simply human neurobiology. Once we pay a certain amount for something, we have a hard time paying more. Even if we somewhere know that that original price hardly paid for the electricity bill, not to talk about a livable wage for service providers.
Seattle is a growing town with increasing real estate prices and wages, that combined with increasing Apps is quite a storm; this will change our town, it already has…
As a small business, I try to adjust to the new culture. I make sure that all customers start with a great deal, this is why I have a new student special. Even if there is no daily deal running, all of my customers get to try us at with a great deal. After that, I have faith that the quality of yoga we provide will make our customers come back for more and will pay prices that allow us to stay open and pay respectable wages.
Lately, I started wondering if adjusting to keeping up with discount culture was the wrong thing to do…How does it go; “If you want to make a change in the world, start with yourself.” Maybe a change is needed. I love teaching yoga, and I am passionate about providing yoga that still carries philosophy and is not reduced to exercise.
I am curious about what you think! Let me know how you would structure the new student experience to be beneficial to both the customer and the business? Could technology companies take a turn and instead help with keeping small business alive?
Please do share your thoughts!
Dora – Owner of Spira Power Yoga