Well to answer ya... I do, but also a little bit of everything.
I do buy local, but frankly a lot of the local guys are realy out to lunch. And with tires... most of what you do find are the real common stuff. You want a Turfsavor? No problem... anything else.. forget it!! I also dont normaly deal with the "Call for info" web sites.. To me its a pain.. Im on the phone all day long at work, Im in the parts biz.. When I am at home, or in my free time that last thing I want to do is make more calls. So IMHO I think setting up a buy online shopping cart system is a good idea.
I like to keep money local and support the local folks who pay local taxes and employ local people.
When local business fails to provide the shopping environment I feel comfortable with I go on line. I only buy online through a shopping cart when the vendor has a user friendly site with all information and policies stated up front.
I am in a sparsely populated rural area with a fair distance to any shopping so on line shopping does have advantages for me.
Most of the electornics, tires, parts are online. Shopping cart is great with Paypal and reasonable shipping. If shipping is high, then I'm off to look for someone else. The cheap parts high shipping loose every time. I have to factor both for the best deal. Model it after Amazon.com, they keep my name, ship info, and credit card. I only need to supply a password.
I buy tires on line, period. Prices locally are out of control, and I refuse to pay hat kind of mark up. I also a shameless cheapskate, do diligent research, call for best price with shipping, and go for the best deal. I like the idea of supporting our advertisers and my local shops, but when they place the cost of goods ok high, I take my blood and sweat hard earned dollar elsewhere.
I do most of my research online and buy online. I just cant find the time to go to the store anymore. Finding what I need and then clicking a button to buy it is great. I usually dont buy from a company that I cant pick up the phone and ask "is this the correct one".
I go for the best price. About a year ago my built in microwave oven died. Looked around and decided to purchase a GE Advantium combo oven as a replacement, about a 2,000 dollar bill. Found it on line for about $100 less than local, no 8% sales tax, and no shipping cost. That was about a $300 savings. It was great. I buy most of my tractor requirements on line. Only problem is buying part costing costing less than $10. It usually doubles the cost because due to shipping expenses. Since Tractor Supply is about an hours drive away and local tractor dealer and repair place is about an hour away I usually find it cost effective to use on line ordering.