The holidays are a critical time for small businesses.
Recently, seven out of ten business owners stated that they viewed the holiday season as a top sales opportunity for their operations. Sales are projected to grow by as much as 10.5% over last year and bring in nearly $860 billion. November through December revenue could provide a record-breaking financial boost.
Small businesses rely on local communities to survive, and they deliver valuable benefits to their customers in return. Here’s some of the meaningful rewards you can gain by shopping locally this holiday season.
Customer service counts even more.
Chain operations often require efficiency more than one-on-one problem solving when it comes to their customers. Because a small business operates at a smaller volume compared to their big-box competitors, they need to make every customer interaction count in the hope that some develop into longstanding relationships.
Quality, creativity, and innovation are always in stock.
Many local businesses are started because owners are passionate about the products and services they provide. There’s a uniqueness attached to that approach that’s embedded into their offerings. Often quirkier and more innovative, the items you’ll find at a small retailer often reflect the interests of the owner behind those offerings. And, because the business is passionate about their work, you’ll likely walk away with a higher quality product, too.
What you buy builds your community.
Recent studies have shown that roughly two-thirds of every dollar spent at a local business stays in the community. Nationally, small businesses have been reported to account for 44% of all economic activity in the U.S. Sure, it may seem like you’re only buying a stocking stuffer, but with nearly 47% of Americans employed by a small business, you’re actually investing in your neighbors.
Shopping is a shared experience.
Swapping the often-chaotic atmosphere of a chain store for the quainter setting of a small business can be a fun way to spend time with loved ones as you check items off holiday wish lists. Many local stores even create experiences specifically for the holiday season, like wine tastings or product demos. Your next seasonal tradition could be carving out an afternoon to shop at community businesses.
Feel good about what you’re getting.
A recent survey of customers found that more than 85% of respondents were willing to pay a higher price for a product or service to support a small business. And the reason why they would do that? Trust.
Their more intimate structure provides small businesses an advantage when it comes to developing personal connections with customers. Employees are often better positioned to understand and act on their customers’ needs and interests. Those behaviors tend to inspire a level of confidence shoppers might be challenged to find elsewhere.
So, plan to add some local businesses to your list of upcoming shopping stops this holiday season. You’ll likely end up feeling better about what you’re getting and giving.
— Ben Spradling is a content manager for the Better Business Bureau Great West + Pacific.