Going out again the next day to participate in Small Business Saturday might be low on your agenda if you went out and faced the crowds on Black Friday, but it shouldn’t be. Small Business Saturday doesn’t just present another opportunity to shop, but to shop better.
In 2010, American Express launched Small Business Saturday, sandwiched between Black Friday — offering crowd-attracting deals from big-box retailers — and Cyber Monday — a chance to snag online savings from the comfort of home. Last year, 82% of Americans planned to take part in Small Business Saturday by shopping in their local community, and approximately 88 million actually did.
So what’s so special about Small Business Saturday? What’s to motivate you to overcome that shopping (or turkey) hangover and actually participate? The significance of this day isn’t cheap prices or free shipping, but a better experience that makes an impact on the local economy. Here are some of the top reasons to include Small Business Saturday in your shopping plans this year.
1. A better shopping environment. Tired of crowds, long lines, cranky cashiers, and distracted sales clerks too busy to help you find what you need? One advantage of shopping local is that it tends to be a more low-key shopping environment you can actually enjoy, even during the busiest shopping season of the year. Small businesses are also more orderly, well-stocked, and appealing.
2. Personalized service. You’ll also get more personalized help finding exactly what you’re looking for. What’s more, small business owners often cater directly to their customers’ needs. For example, the staff was more than willing to order shoes I wanted that weren’t in stock at a shoe store I used to shop. Sure, I could have ordered directly from the supplier, but I would have missed the personal care, which didn’t cost anything extra. Even at a chain store in another small community, the manager offered to order in a particular product I wanted since he knew he would have a regular customer for it. You won’t be able to get that kind of personal care from a mass retailer.
3. More unique, high-quality gifts. The kinds of items you’ll find in small businesses may not be cheap, but they’ll usually possess more value. Knick-knacks and other items can often be personalized, and you’ll find unique items that cater to your friends and family’s individual tastes and interests so you can give meaningfully.
1. A chance to show community pride. Do you love your community? Shopping locally this holiday season, and especially on Small Business Saturday, demonstrates respect and support of your community as a whole. Shopping at even one local business often indirectly impacts several others who are business partners, suppliers, and affiliates.
2. A greater impact on the local economy. If you’re into numbers, this point is best illustrated by statistics. Research firm Civic Economics reports that out of every $100 spent at a small business, $68 stays in the local community versus $43 spent at a chain store. The American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) further reports that ever dollar spent in small businesses returns three times more to the local economy than chain stores. Not only this, but local spending generates more tax revenue per sales dollar, which ultimately keeps your taxes lower too. In a ripple effect, helping local businesses prosper encourages more entrepreneurs, creates more jobs, and stimulates the local economy. The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy indicates small businesses employ nearly half of all American workers, and are responsible for 64% of new jobs created from 1993-2009. If those numbers aren’t a good reason to shop locally, I don’t know what is.
3. Giving more to those in need. AMIBA also reports that overall, local businesses donate more than twice as much to charitable causes as chain stores. This means that shopping small doesn’t just benefiting you and local business owners, but those who need it most. Shopping at small businesses is a great way to ‘share the wealth’ in a more effective way.
For all these reasons, I sincerely encourage you to consider participating in Small Business Saturday this year.