Bahamians are being urged to shop locally as much as possible in the last week leading up to Christmas day, in order to re-energize the local economy in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.
Chairperson of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) Khrystle Rutherford-Ferguson said each Bahamian can play a part in improving the economy by choosing to shop at home, leading to more cash circulation and ultimately more jobs.
“As we seek to rebuild the local economy, we must make choices that will improve our current economic state by banding consumer dollars together. The point may seem trite and overemphasized, however, by making the simple decision to shop at home, unemployment may drop. If there is an increase in demand from consumers for goods and services from local businesses, there would be no choice but to hire more people to service the increase in demand,” she told Guardian Business.
“There are immediate benefits to the local economy when we choose to shop at home. Studies show that there is profound economic benefit to shopping at home. Money spent at home has double the effect on the local economy by remaining in circulation locally. Income generated locally will be used as consumer spending to empower local businesses who in turn hire persons, creating a positive cyclical effect.”
Rutherford-Ferguson said it’s important for businesses to use this opportunity to take stock of consumer demand and adjust their product offerings accordingly.
“As we seek to shop at home, we may find gaps in what consumers want and what our local businesses offer. This information is useful as it would give businesses a better understanding of the types of products and services the consumer is looking for. Business analytics is of great importance and the ability to determine firsthand what the consumer wants allows businesses to make informed decisions when they purchase goods from their suppliers,” she said.
“After all, if the products that consumers want are sold, it will create the foundation for an increase in sales and where there is a void in consumer needs, innovation happens. Studies show that innovation occurs when there is a gap in the marketplace for a particular item or service that will make life easier for the consumer.”
The chamber chair said this is particularly important in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, which decimated the economies of Grand Bahama and Abaco.
“A cataclysmic event like Hurricane Dorian revealed many things about our country and has left our economy wounded. However, we can all try to bring the pieces together one step at a time and help to rebuild our economy, by starting with supporting our local businesses during this festival season,” Rutherford-Ferguson said.