Thursday, August 7, 2014

Clicks and Bricks...Supporting Hometown Businesses

These days, small businesses and downtown retailers often struggle to compete in a world where a growing number of consumers do their shopping online. Small retailers, in particular, are facing increasing competitive challenges because out-of-state online companies aren’t collecting sales tax at the point of sale leading consumers to believe goods are cheaper when purchased online.

But competition from out-of-state online retailers doesn’t have to be the death of our hometown retail businesses. We can look at this challenge from two perspectives.

First is focusing on the role that officials in our cities and towns can play in helping local retailers better harness the power of the Internet and social media to boost their businesses.

At the July Annual Meeting, three successful downtown business owners from Laurens and Newberry discussed with Main Street SC’s director strategies they are using to re-think their business models to remain relevant in the world where clicks and bricks merge. Read the Uptown article about this session and take a look at the session presentation.

Second is leveling the tax playing field to ensure these local businesses don’t remain at a competitive disadvantage relative to out-of-state online retailers. The Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act is working its way through Congress. This legislation requires online retailers to collect sales taxes the same way our hometown brick and mortar businesses do and does not create new taxes or increase existing ones.

The bill was introduced in the U. S. Senate recently, and time is short to see it pass before the end of this session of Congress. This legislation is similar to the Marketplace Fairness Act that passed the Senate last year supported by Senator Graham. 

Our senators need to hear from local officials and businesses that passage of this legislation is critical to helping our local businesses overcome this competitive disadvantage.

No comments:

Post a Comment