Everyone loves to "love local" and America is leading the way with 91% of the US feeling loving towards small business this year. Small businesses are the core of our cities. The restaurants, boutiques, clothing stores, coffee shops, bars, even the service providers bring personality to our towns. Small Business Saturday is an important day and a success! Store owners in some cases report to doubling traffic levels across the weekend with peaks in traffic hitting on the Saturday before the weekend winds down.
But is it really enough to just have one day a year dedicated to supporting small businesses? Is the marketing and hype more impressive than the actual outcome for those involved- the small business owners?
Small Business Saturday began in 2010 to shift the focus of Black Friday and Cyber Monday to small businesses and give them a boost during one of the busiest times of the year. Amex sponsored and promoted the shopping day and offered benefits such as marketing collateral, ads on Facebook and branded shopping bags for businesses who utilized Amex as a service and participated in the day.
The shopping day has become very well known, but it is not a garaunteed business driver. Only 22.3% of those planning to shop on Saturday have small business intentions. The sentiment of the day does not really live up to it's hype. Encouraging people to shop small just one day out of the year does not help businesses grow. People should shop small every day of the year.
Estimates pin the total amount of holiday shopping around $630 Billion over November and December with $105 Billion coming from online sales alone. But, very little of that is headed for local businesses on the back of small Business Saturday. Luckily locals are finding innovative ways to build partnerships they need to get their fair share.
We all need to do our part throughout the year. Next time you need a coffee, walk the one block further to your local coffee shop, or next time you need some clothes, check out your local boutiques where owners have gone on the buying trips and curated their selection with the local community in mind.
For every $100 we spend at a big box or chain, only about $14 stays in the neighborhood, but when you shop at a local store, $45 stays in the community. Small businesses are fueling our communities, making them better, stronger, more happy places all year long. Make them a part of your year long shopping, not just one Saturday a year.
Here's to local business!