The topic of using local suppliers and services has become much more of a trend and a unique selling point for many businesses. The motive behind this decision can vary; supporting the immediate community, buying British, reducing carbon emissions, cost, better service…the list goes on.
But what does sourcing locally mean? Now, this could just come down to sourcing locally vs globally or more specific to the region and immediate community. Of course, this depends on the products or services you are sourcing and the feasibility of how close to home you can realistically source everything you need.
Benefits of sourcing locally;
- More control
For companies sourcing from local suppliers, the very fact that they are ‘local’ means there is the possibility of meeting face-to-face. This way buyers will get to know the supplier better, the teams they may deal with and build a stronger relationship with them.
Having more idea of the setup and the people you are dealing with will give much better control over transactions and continuing relations, rather than a faceless name avoiding your calls when you really need them most.
- Save money
A shorter supply chain ultimately means fewer costs related to shipment and storage. Cutting down on this unnecessary cost, can potentially either save you money or allow you to invest in better quality produce, sourced from local producers and growers.
- Brand image
As previously mentioned, locally sourced products have quickly become a trend that is very much here to stay. Consumers really rate and invest in organisations embracing the sustainable and ethical ways of operating and trading.
Solidifying your brand image and reputation by ethically sourcing produce will help you gain loyal, brand champions. It is also reported that consumers are more likely to overlook any minor errors made by organisations if they have solid ethical and sustainable values.
- Faster response and delivery with a better service
So, you need some point-of-sale desperately but your supplier is based halfway across the world. I’m afraid to say, this is not going to get to you within a week, probably not even two.
The beauty of sourcing locally is the speed of delivery and service. The convenience and security that comes with a local supplier really do make it a great choice.
- Environmentally kind
It goes without saying, the shorter the distance something has to travel to reach its destination, the ‘greener’ it is, having caused fewer carbon emissions than if it had, for example, flown across the globe. This is especially important for industries that champion sustainability and ‘going green’ in other aspects of their business.
- Partnership with a local supplier
Partnering with a local supplier could be extremely beneficial to the overall knowledge of the consumer and trends, they are more likely to have a better understanding of the needs and preferences of the locality.
What’s more, any good supplier should happily share this information with you and work alongside you to create the best offering for your organisation and the audience it is looking to provide for.
- Unique selling point
Sourcing your produce locally gives you a great selling point and a way to attract new customers, make the most of it and include it in your literature, advertising, point-of-sale and shout about it on social media!
It may also attract the interest of other local suppliers and businesses who want to work with you on other projects.
Providing locally sourced goods gives a sense of authenticity, being immersed in the culture and community of the area. Consumers love to have an authentic experience and feel an emotional connection while spending their money.
Tourists will also be attracted to organisations that keep it local, again, to experience a truly authentic service.
- Customers willing to pay more
The new generations of consumers are increasingly expecting to see ethically and sustainably sourced produce served in their local businesses, such as coffee shops, delis and garden centres. They are even willing to pay a little more for the things that have been sourced in this manner.
People love a journey, so try to provide this within your establishment, tell them through point-of-sale where your produce came from, your values and the values of your supplier, this will create an engaged audience and a little buzz of interest.
- Supporting the community
Sourcing from a local supplier feeds back into the community, supporting the local job market and local businesses. Keeping the money in the community, or even just the country, allows for continued growth and a sustainable economy. Small businesses can then flourish and supply more of what the buyers and consumers demand.
- Keeping an ethical supply chain
The longer and further-reaching a supply chain is, the harder it becomes to determine who and what is involved. You may not be able to gain or provide proof that your supply chain follows the Modern Slavery Act and provides fair wages and a safe working environment for the employees involved.
This could make things difficult when trying to win contracts with larger companies, who will more than likely require you to evidence this. Not to mention the publicity and reputation implications this may bring.
Brexit. Of course, no-one totally knows what the outcome of Brexit is going to be and what effect this may have on our economy. But there is absolutely no harm in future-proofing your business by sourcing your produce locally, again supporting the wider economy.
Challenges of sourcing locally;
- Some businesses may find it hard to source enough produce to provide for the needs of the business, buyers should plan ahead and start discussions with suppliers early to secure the correct amounts to avoid shortages and disappointment.
- As the seasons determine some of what is available, this means planning around this, if you truly wish to source locally, this could mean forgoing certain products for part of the year. Having knowledge and a strong strategy and values behind this will help you back up these decisions to customers. Don’t forget, products that are in season are full of flavour and this will be reflected in the items you provide.
- Price can be a concern to some when sourcing locally, even though, as mentioned earlier, it cuts down on the costs of shipment and storage, they may be produced in smaller quantities, which can attract a higher price tag. Negotiate prices at an early stage with your supplier, putting an agreement in place as to price and quantity, so no one loses out.
Did you know?
- 72% of industrial B2B buyers prefer to source locally.
- Every £1 spent in a local shop is worth £1.76 to the local economy, it has a knock-on effect of keeping local jobs and prosperity in the region.
- A quarter of consumers would be willing to spend as much as 25% more for food if they knew it contained British produce, with some even prepared to spend up to 50% more.
Here at Balmforth & Co, based in Yorkshire, we supply the Nation with top quality coffee and related products. Providing all the support you need with our entirely in-house team of graphic design, marketing, installations and engineers.
We offer short lead times and personalised service to help you achieve your business goals, we have also recently won 2 Great Taste Awards, one being for our Blend 7 coffee beans, receiving 2 stars from the judges!
Get in touch today to see how we can offer more as your coffee supplier! Call the team on 01226 720 482, or enquire using the button below.