It’s no surprise that small businesses have been facing phenomenal challenges and feats since COVID-19 has hit the scene. This holiday season, small businesses need your help and support to stay in business and stay thriving. Your purchase from a local business could help a boss keep employees on payroll for the season so they can feed their families.
We know that shopping recently feels… well, weird. Amidst impending mask mandates and social distancing, it can feel harder and harder to frequent your favorite local shops to get holiday gift ideas. So I'm going to give you 10 ways to support small business while staying safe, healthy, and budget-friendly this holiday season. I hope you enjoy my guide on how to support small business this holiday season and beyond.
Why support small businessI was thrilled to see a Sykes survey report that 1 in 5 American consumers plan to purchase more from small local businesses. That means people are acknowledging how their shopping patterns, particularly amidst the pandemic, have a direct impact on the lives and livelihoods of small business owners and employees.The reach of your support extends far beyond just the business itself. Small businesses are the fabric of our economy and society.
- Economically, when you shop local, the money stays in your community and can help with local development. This multiplier effect creates a ripple chain of local business relationships that enables the entire community to flourish together.
- Socially, small businesses give our American towns the culture, character, and community that we all know and love. These businesses create local jobs; in fact, a 2018 SBA profile reported that U.S. small businesses employ 47.5% of the private workforce, and that number has only risen since then.
Besides, small businesses are more sustainable for the community and environment, they offer a better customer service and purchasing experience, and they offer unique, specialty items that won’t be under everyone’s Christmas tree who shops at the big box stores.
You have the choice where your dollars go: a faceless corporation or the friendly fact at the local grocer, boutique, pet shop, clothing store, bakery, etc. If you want to see your favorite small businesses keep their doors open, if you want your community to grow and flourish, then you can accept the responsibility of directing your holiday purchases to support small business.
1. Shop online
Most stores, even small businesses, have pivoted to a more ecommerce-centric business in an effort to keep people safe during the pandemic and also to keep their doors open. You can browse local businesses’s products online, so you can actually support small business from the comfort of your couch. You can then have those products shipped to you or even do a buy online and pickup in store (or curbside pickup). Start shopping for your favorite preloved gems on Current Boutique’s website!
Tip: If you prefer to browse in the store itself, call ahead to find out when the shop’s typical “down” time is (when foot traffic is less), so you can throw on your mask and shop in safety and confidence.
2. Support small business now by buying gift cards for the future
Masks and distancing requirements won’t go on forever. We want our favorite delis, gyms, and clothing boutiques to be waiting and ready for us when we can go back to our regular routine. You can help them persist through these hard times by purchasing a gift card or certificate. This essentially lets you purchase products and services in advance, and it gives the business capital to keep their doors open and shelves stocked for the foreseeable future.
Plus, gift cards are a sustainable gift that you know will get used. You’re not buying your friend a scarf that they may or may not wear (and may throw away). You’re gifting the freedom of choice while also enabling you and the recipient to show support for a local business.
Make your holiday shopping super simple this season, and give the gift of sustainable, stunning fashion. Stop by your local Current Boutique to grab a gift certificate and give your loved ones the opportunity to purchase high-quality, designer clothes (at a fraction of the cost) that they’ll look and feel gorgeous wearing.
3. Start shopping early
Smaller businesses don’t have the same kind of shipping and logistics contracts that large corporations do. That means small businesses can get overwhelmed with requests and have slower shipping times (even for expedited shipping), particularly as the holidays draw nearer. Shopping early from your favorite stores will help give them revenue to handle the holiday season effectively, while also lessening the burden of an influx of requests in the last two weeks before Christmas. Plus, it ensures you get all your goodies before the season“Shopping early is one of the kindest ways to shop small.”
4. Be kind
You may have read our article that explained how some employees are feeling overwhelmed and experiencing burnout by stressed out customers. We know how anxious and challenging this time is for everyone. Small businesses are working diligently to adapt their stores to best suit the consumer’s health and shopping preferences.
If you want to truly support your local business this season, support them not only with your money but also with kindness, understanding, and patience. For example, items might go out of stock, shipping times might be longer, and employees might be feeling the strain of working when they have high-risk family members. You can make our day a little bit brighter just with a smile and a “hello.”
We love and appreciate all the loving, considerate shoppers who come through our doors. Showing the employees at local business a little extra love this season can go a long way.
5. Support with reviews and social media
Another way to support small businesses without your wallet is with your words. Posting positive reviews about your favorite shops, like Current Boutique, on Yelp, Facebook, and Google is a simple way to help keep these retailers in business. It matters more than you might think.
Research shows that 91% of consumers regularly read reviews, and 84% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. From there, 68% will form an opinion and make a purchasing decision based on those reviews. That means your review could have a direct impact on whether or not someone visits or buys from that retailer. Leaving a few positive words not only shows your small business owner that you appreciate their store, but it can also substantially drive more traffic and revenue to the store.
Also, follow local businesses on social media and engage with their posts. Like and comment. Share their content with friends. Staying active with your favorite businesses on social media can have a huge effect on pushing local marketing and getting these businesses seen by other folks in the community.
6. Look at extended deals
Stay within your budget by shopping deals from local businesses. A lot of small businesses participate in Small Business Saturday and Black Friday deals, and many retailers have started their deals early this year. So, keep an eye out for sales from your favorite shops so you can save money while holiday shopping this year. Check out our Black Friday deals and offerings here.
Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to the retailer directly to inquire about any deals or specials going on. Even if they’re not having any deals, they might offer you something special as a thank you for reaching out and shopping with them!
Psst… Want to make a little extra cash for the holiday season? Do a quarantine closet cleanout and sell your extra clothing pieces to Current Boutique!
7. Think up new gift ideas
It’s hard to come up with gift ideas every year, especially for those recipients that seem to have everything. The cool part about small businesses is that they often offer unique items you can’t get anywhere else. You can find gift inspiration from local businesses and ensure you gift a special, exclusive item that they definitely won’t have under their tree this year.
One of the benefits of consignment shops in particular is that we carry unique pieces that are so hard to find—like a Chanel dress from the ‘80s or a limited edition Oscar de la Renta. Keep an eye on our inventory and you’ll be surprised at the turnover of sensational items up for grabs.
The gift of self-care is huge for the holiday season. That doesn’t just mean body products, though. Fashion is one of the best forms of self-care because it makes you feel confident, beautiful, and motivated. Treat your friend to the love of fashion with cool winter fashion trends or a gift certificate to Current Boutique, so they can pick out their own designer, quality clothing and accessories (and get way more bang for their buck than if they shopped from the designer directly).
8. Check out new small businesses
Not sure where to find products you’re looking for at local shops? Feel like it’s only big box stores around you? You’d probably be surprised to see just how many small businesses there are around town, even some that may be tucked away that you’ve never heard of before. It can be really fun to explore new shop’s products and offerings, and the owner will be thrilled to see a new face (or name, if purchasing online)!
How to find and support small business near you:
- Check out American Express’s Small Business map. This will show you which small businesses are in your area and which are participating in Small Business Saturday deals, discounts, and events!
- Browse Yelp based on what sort of products/services you’re looking for. This is a great way to find local businesses, see what they’re about, and read reviews.
- Use social media to your advantage. See where local friends like to shop. Look up hashtags related to your city. A lot of small businesses are on Facebook and Instagram to get their name out there, so you can find some unique places you’ve never known before.
- Do some Googling. Search “shoe stores near me” (for example) to find some local places. You’ll have to weed through some of the bigger retailers, but you’ll be able to find some special hot spots too.
- Check out Etsy and other sites that support independent artists. They may or may not be local, but you’re bound to find unique artisan crafts from small businesses that will delight any gift recipient this holiday season.
9. Consider your purchasing values
You work hard for your money. What you choose to do with that money, and by extension your work and time, says a lot about you. Knowing that this 2020 holiday season could make or break small businesses, you have the distinctive privilege to offer your assistance, support, and care for these people. Purchasing from small businesses is one of the best ways to show love in your community during this holiday season.
Furthermore, small businesses often live by a mission and set of principles that big corporations don’t. For example, a local roaster might only source fair trade chocolate and coffee to promote social well being of these farmers. Or your local consignment shop like Current Boutique might have a mission to emphasize the sustainable cycle of fashion to minimize textile and wallet waste. If you have a personal mission statement you live by, find a local shop that aligns with your values.
10. Consider donating to a local nonprofit
Nonprofits need your assistance, too. Although many get government grants, these grants usually aren’t enough to sustain their operations, particularly as most nonprofits are more strained for supplies and services during the holidays. Whether you want to keep pups warm for the holidays or serve more meals to the homeless in your community, there are tons of local nonprofits who can use your help this season. A quick Google or social media search of local nonprofits can help you find ones that speak to you.
Better yet, turn your donation into a gift! Give a donation in someone else’s name and then give them the receipt. It’s like giving twice. Both the recipient and the organization will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Thank you for your support
We love and appreciate our Current Boutique shoppers so much. Thank you for supporting an entrepreneur’s dream, thank you for showing love to our employees, and thank you for giving more life, funds, and development into our community. We wouldn’t be here, especially with all that’s going on, without your support. For that, we are eternally grateful, and we can’t wait to thank you personally in store or through an online purchase.