So you find yourself in need of a new carrier. You stay up too late looking at pretty things online, fall down a rabbit hole and wake up in the morning more confused and excited than before. How they heck do you even choose?
You pop into your local babywearing group to ask for advice.
And every single person says a different thing, and someone chimes in “try them on, it’s the only way you will know what works for YOUR body”.
You check the “where to shop” file and go to your local, small business to try things on. You get excellent service. They spend time talking about each carrier. How they differ, what the benefits are, the colour and fabric choices. You are thrilled with one.
What is next?
You buy it right?
Often what retailers hear, after a potential customer is obviously excited, and seems very much wanting the carrier: “Thanks! I’ll be back!”, never to be seen again.
What seems to happen now is the buyer looks back online for a good deal leaving the brick and mortar store owner shortened of their time.
And well, time is money.
Speaking with a local retailer, she says she started her store online, and opened up the physical store because people wanted to see products in person. And they do, and shop elsewhere. She is frustrated with people showrooming. There is nothing she can do about it. Small businesses generally list their prices as the manufacturers suggested price .They cannot buy in bulk to keep prices lower. They have a larger overhead than someone who only sells online.
Every time someone spends the time of a store owner and buys elsewhere the store suffers. And with that, corners may be cut, knowledgeable staff let go, and the community suffers. Not to mention loss in revenue that will eventually close up shop.
The good news is there are other ways to try carriers on that don’t waste the time of small business owners if you insist on buying online. A lot of babywearing groups have lending libraries, with volunteer educators on hand to help. Babywearing educators are available to hire for a consult to help make the decision easier if meetings are hard to get to.
In the end, if the carrier of your dreams is at a local store, please support the store. You will generally get a free fitting, and you are generally welcome back for more help.
In my experience, people who open specialized shops are enthusiastic about their products, want to share their knowledge, be helpful and create community.