The 2021 holiday shopping season is shaping up to be unlike most in recent memory. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to support small businesses. Some of the challenges facing small businesses include supply chain disruptions, shipping delays, and trying to find and hire seasonal talent.
Small businesses are the backbone of the nation’s economy. This includes our local economy, too. Research shows that 67 cents of every dollar spent at a small, local business sticks in your local economy. The remaining cents go towards small business owners and their employees’ wages. This supports the income of small business owners and helps create local jobs. Pardon the pun, but it makes “cents” to shop with locally owned businesses!
Everyone benefits when customers show up and support small businesses. Here are a few easy ways to shop local in your community this holiday season.
1. Use the Chamber of Commerce to Find Local Small Businesses
You know you want to support small businesses during the holidays. But where is the best place to find these businesses?
Start by visiting your local Chamber of Commerce. You may visit in-person or head to their website. The Chamber of Commerce will be able to provide you with a list of small businesses in your area. You may already support some of these businesses. However, many others may be new to you and have exactly what you’re looking to purchase this holiday season.
Where else can you find local small businesses and entrepreneurs? Search for local businesses through review platforms like Yelp and Trustpilot. You may also head to online marketplaces like Etsy to shop with and support independent artists and sellers.
Do you still want more recommendations? Ask family, friends, and neighbors to share the names of local small businesses they support!
2. Check in With Local Small Businesses
Now that you have a better idea of the businesses local to your area, it’s time to check in with their storefronts. Head over for an in-person visit, call, or visit their website to learn more about their holiday shopping plans.
You may ask questions like these:
- What are your holiday hours?
- Do you accept online orders?
- Will you take part of any local neighborhood events during the holidays? (Think farmers markets or street fairs.)
- What kinds of sales are you offering?
- Do you have an e-newsletter I can sign up with?
- Where can I find your business on social media?
- Is curbside pickup available?
- What are your COVID-19 guidelines for safe shopping?
- Do you sell gift cards or gift certificates?
Additionally, if you have done some research on a product you would like to buy but would prefer not to buy it from a big-box retailer inquire with the small business if they offer this product. They may carry it or refer you to another small business that carries this item.
3. Practice Kindness While Shopping
The general recommendation for the 2021 holiday shopping season is to start shopping early. Once you know the holiday schedule and COVID-19 safety guidelines at the small business you plan to shop at, head over and begin browsing.
Shopping during the holidays is often a chaotic and stressful time for both shoppers and businesses. Use this time to practice kindness while out shopping. Be patient and understanding. For example, let’s say a certain item you are looking for is currently out of stock. Ask business owners which other item they would recommend as a good alternative gift.
4. Write Positive Reviews
One of the best ways to support small businesses is to share positive reviews.
Write a positive, honest review about your experience shopping with a local business. Talk about your shopping experience. Share details about what made the experience great. For example, you may give a shout out to a specific team member that was able to help you out and meet all your needs.
Then, share the review on a review platform like Yelp or Trustpilot. You may also post directly on a social media platform such as Facebook.
5. Follow and Interact on Social Media
Did you buy something unique for the holidays that you couldn’t find anywhere else? Follow the company’s social media handles. Share images of this item or videos where you talk about how to use the item on platforms like Instagram or Facebook. Tag the business and thank them on social.
Interacting with small businesses on social media allows fans to introduce the business to a wider circle of influencers and followers. In turn, this gives the business exposure to new demographics. Positive word of mouth may inspire some of the original poster’s fans to start following, and shopping, with the business and building up its customer base.
6. Continue Supporting Local Businesses
There are more seasons to shop outside of the traditional holiday season!
Now that you know more about the local businesses in the area and their offerings, you can support small businesses year-round. Keep shopping with all your favorite local shops, eateries, and spaces that offer unique experiences. And remember to make room for new local businesses opening up, too!