Don't showroom your local shops if you want them to continue to be there as your local resource.
Every day at Nappy Shoppe, we get the comment. “It is so great to see the diapers in person”. And it is. I like it when I get to shop for products in person for the store, rather than looking at pictures on line. When I started out cloth diapering my son Braden back in 2008, there was no local store that I knew of, so I shopped on line. And some diapers I got were great, others not so much. The not so much ones, if I had seen them in person, I would never have wasted my money purchasing them in the first place.
And while we get the comment about seeing things in person a lot. Not everyone who makes that comment actually shops from us, or some will only buy a couple, and then shop the rest on line. This practice is called “showrooming“. And at Nappy Shoppe, we are a victim (yes I say victim) of this quite a bit. Showrooming, not only happens to small businesses like mine, but big stores like Best Buy have reported it to be such a huge problem, they have actually closed down stores for it. Brick and mortar stores are frequently showroomed for big online giants like Amazon. Showrooming is expensive to the “victim”. We pay wages, rent, utilities, insurance etc, to be able to show you our products. These costs are covered when WE make the sale. When the sale ends up going to the giants like Amazon, then we end up losing money.
Keeping Nappy Shoppe open is a daily challenge. (No we are not closing our doors anytime soon — thankfully there are those who make the effort to support local small business). And we rely on those sales to keep our doors open. When it comes to diapers, we will be the same as every other place who upholds their contracts with the manufacturers. Some other things we may be a tad more expensive, because I don’t have the bulk buying potential of some of the giants. But what I do offer, is customer service. My staff is a wonderful set of girls who are passionate about the products we sell. They want to see cloth diapers on every baby, mothers and fathers wearing their babies, mothers succeeding at breastfeeding, teething babies soothed. While we want to make sales, we also want to make sure what you buy is what you NEED for your family. We want you to go home knowing how to use that baby carrier correctly, go home feeling like breastfeeding is going to work out for you, knowing how to to wash your cloth diapers properly and so on. The big giants like Amazon, do not give a hoot about your efforts to breastfeed, or if you wash your cloth diapers in dreft and ruin them (after all you will have to buy more from them if you do that). If you do not breastfeed, then they get to sell you formula instead, far more lucrative for them.
I know this sounds like a bitter rant, and I guess it is. I am tired of being showroomed. I am tired of seeing on Facebook, a photo of someone who came into the store to be fitted for a carrier, wearing a carrier they bought elsewhere later on. When I sit down to do the books (yes this is what I was doing before writing this rant), and I try to figure out ways to give myself a paycheck for my 62 hour weeks, it is tough knowing that I was showroomed. Showrooming is actually a worse problem for us than theft (yes we do get stolen from).
So my moral of this rant is, buy where you touch. If you want to keep being able to see things in person, support those of us who have taken the risk and invested our time and resources into a business, and buy from them when you go in to see the items you wish to purchase.