Internet Sales Negatively Impacting Saint Lucia Small Businesses – St. Lucia Times

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Internet sales negatively impact small businesses in Saint Lucia, fueling concerns that their existence is under threat.

Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre raised the alarm this week when he appeared on the Radio 100 programme , ‘What Makes You Mad‘.

He said it was a major problem and said small businesses were under pressure.

Pierre, the Minister of Finance, noted an absence of itinerant vendors selling products from suitcases.

“A major problem I have is what do I do about small businesses under pressure because of internet sales. I have this major problem. Philosophically, I know where I want to go because of where I came from,” Pierre stated. 

He also said he wanted to open the discussion.

The President of the Saint Lucia Craft and Dry Goods Vendors Association, Peter ‘Ras Ips’ Isaac, echoed the Prime Minister’s concerns.

He explained that Internet sales have a huge negative impact on local small businesses.

According to Isaac, when locals purchase goods online, it affects the national economy, threatens jobs, and undermines small businesses.

He felt there was no simple solution to the problem.

“We are in a serious dilemma now,” the Vendors Association President told St. Lucia Times.

Nevertheless, a business consultant advised small businesses to advertise on platforms like Facebook and establish online payments.

The consultant used the example of a seamstress who could advertise garments online to a specific target audience, offering price discounts.

“Online sales are instant and people don’t have to travel to your business place,” the official told St. Lucia Times.

The consultant also suggested setting up websites and offering a delivery service in the case of restaurants, noting that in today’s world, people are glued to their smartphones.

“Someone may not feel like cooking and want a nice pumpkin soup. You could pay someone on a motorbike to deliver it or do so yourself from your kitchen,” the consultant suggested.

The official, highlighting the power of social media advertising, recalled placing a vacancy ad on Facebook and receiving hundreds of applications when others expected few responses.

“We need to respond in kind,” the consultant declared regarding the online sales threat to local small businesses.