The title to this post is one that many business owners hear constantly. It is always cheaper on the Internet. Interestingly, we are a real fan of the small business owner. After all, the small business owner is the one who has created more jobs, provided more community benefits and sponsorships than anyone else. After all, the small business owner lives in the small town and depends upon the residents of the small town to support his/her business.
We bought some products the other day from the small business owner. When I was at the business owner’s store, I told him what I wanted. He told me that he could have it here in a few days and what the price was going to be. I said OK and we had a deal. Now, just for grins, I decided to “Go check the Internet” and see if I could find it cheaper. Well, what do you think? Yes, I found my products cheaper on the Internet!!! Now, this required more exploration as well.
After I burned probably 20 minutes of time, I discovered that after shipping and minimum order size, I would have saved about $10 if I had ordered on the Internet. Was that worth it? Well, I did not think so, otherwise I would have used the Internet and not the small business owner. The real question that has to be answered is “Why was the additional $10 worth spending with the small business owner?” The real answer is that I had a professional that insured that I got the right product, the right size, fit, shape, color that I needed for the task at hand. Now, remember, I wasted 20 minutes of my time doing the research. OK, the time for this exercise was academic because it was related to research for this article, however, I was happy to pay the business owner the additional $10. If there is a problem with the product, I know that I have someone to go back to help me “make it right!” That normally does not happen on the Internet.
Again, there is rarely anything that one cannot find cheaper, someplace! The real question is what is the cost in time and energy to do it? The real answer is that it costs more and is less effective than going to the small business owner in town and have he/she either sell or order what you need. Yes, it may appear to cost more, but does it really? In the end, I say that the answer is NO, it is cheaper to use the small business owner than spend more time trying to find the cheapest price.