SOUTH-WEST residents who have latched on to internet shopping sites looking for Christmas gifts have been urged to spare a thought for local traders.
Commerce Warrnambool chairman Richard Montgomery says although online shopping has become entrenched in modern society the importance of supporting local business would always be important.
“We need to challenge people again on this issue in the lead-up to Christmas,” he told The Standard.
“Campaigns urging people to buy local are not as effective as what they were and there’s been a big shift towards online shopping from overseas suppliers.
“We need to shift the discussion and target the message to online users so they will at least consider what might be available locally and the impact on local econonomies.”
Mr Montgomery said several south-west businesses had online links and a new locally-based website had been established to help retailers supply shopper needs.
Illowa IT specialist Chas Cleland launched Click Shopper on November 27 with an initial 51 south-west businesses ready to receive inquiries.
Businesses can participate for free from any region in Australia and have their store ready to receive inquiries within 24 hours.
“Customers are already online, but most prefer to purchase a brand name product at a local store,” Mr Cleland said.
“That usually entails personally visiting bricks-and-mortar stores which takes time and can be frustrating.
“Our site makes that easier.
“We will add further developments to the site in January.”