Eight Ways to #ShopSmall This Holiday Season

Heady Vermont Staff 27 Nov 2020

This has been a rough year for small business owners.

People are predicted to spend just under $1,000 this holiday season on friends and loved ones, according to the National Retail Federation. This amount is slightly less than what was spent during the 2019 holiday season. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most consumers are expected to do most or all of their holiday shopping online.
According to the American Express Shop Small Impact Study, 46% of small business owners across the United States are counting on above-average holiday sales this year just so they re-open in 2021. American Express started Small Business Saturday back in 2009.
46% of small business owners across the United States are counting on above-average holiday sales this year just so they re-open in 2021,

While the “Black Friday” wave of big-name discounting can appear all-consuming, there are a growing number of people who are rejecting fast shopping culture. Instead, they are looking to “shop small” and support independent businesses. Recent research conducted by Enterprise Nation suggests that 37% of consumers are actively planning to buy more from independent businesses online this year.

Experts predict at least a 35 percent increase in e-commerce sales allowing retailers to enhance online offerings much earlier than the traditional Black Friday deals and some 42 percent of consumers have started shopping earlier than normal this year. For consumers, this also means more reading, researching, and checking on both the products and the sellers legitimacy before making their purchase.

It’s more important than ever to shop at small, woman and BIPOC-owned businesses this holiday season – during Small Business Saturday and beyond. They need our help to survive.

We’ve shared a few tips for how to #ShopSmall on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holidays:

  • Research the shops nearest to you. Browse our Partner Directory and the map as a starting point. We’ll also be sharing discounts and deals from our friends and partners in our Facebook and Instagram stories. Sign up for our newsletter for special partner deals.
  • Sign-up for email alerts. Save a few dollars on your holiday budget by signing up for Small Business Saturday email specials offered by the merchants in your areaKeep in mind, you’ll probably get additional deals throughout the year, not just during the holidays.
  • Connect with businesses on social media. Many small businesses will advertise their sales via social media. Use #ShopSmall and other more local hashtags like #VermontMade #MadeInVermont to search for information and share activities.
  • Don’t just shop small, eat small! Make it a point to order takeout from nearby local food businesses at least occasionally. Gift cards – for yourself or friends and family – are also a great way to support local restaurants and eateries who are feeling the pinch of the pandemic.
  • Shop safely. Beware of making quick purchases while scrolling through social media. Scammers have access to tools they need to learn about your buying behaviors, offering exactly what you want at enticingly low prices. Remember, while cannabis and CBD businesses are basically barred from advertising on social media, a host of shadowy low-cost sellers tend to show up in sponsored posts.
  • Word of mouth is invaluable. Share your favorite hashtags including #ShopSmall and tag your fave businesses to spread the word. Post photos of purchases you love.
  • Leave positive reviews if you’re happy.
  • And remember, these businesses are open all year as well!

Keeping your dollars in your hometown has other advantages that are just as important as saving a few bucks, even if they’re not immediately apparent. By shopping locally, you reap such benefits as:

  • A Stronger Economy. Local businesses hire local workers. In addition to staff for the stores, they hire local architects and contractors for building and remodeling, local accountants and insurance brokers to help them run the business, and local ad agencies to promote it. They’re also more likely than chain stores to carry goods that are locally produced, according to the American Independent Business Alliance. All these factors together create a “multiplier effect,” meaning that each dollar spent in a local store brings as much as $3.50 into the local economy. By contrast, large chain stores tend to displace as many local jobs as they create because they often drive local retailers out of business.
  • A Closer Community. Shopping at local businesses gives neighbors a chance to connect. It’s easier to get to know someone you often see or interact with at a local business, versus a big-name brand with too many customers to count. Getting to know your local business owners and neighbors provides opportunities for networking and improves quality of life.
  • A Cleaner Environment. Shopping online and via local curbside pickups means fewer cars on the road, which means less traffic, less noise, and less pollution.
  • A Great Place to Live. The last factor is more difficult to measure than the others, but it’s just as important. Local businesses make your town a better, more interesting place to live. One suburban housing development looks much like another, but a town center with thriving local businesses has a feel that’s all its own. Local eateries, bars, bookstores, food markets, pharmacies, and gift shops all combine to give a place its unique character.



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