Results from the newly released Deluxe Annual Holiday Shopping Survey™ show that 35 percent of consumers plan to shop local and small this year, compared to just 27 percent last year. And hey, a full third of the more than $600 billion that is estimated to be spent this year is quite a chunk of change!
Could it be that folks finally are starting to get it that the need to support local small business owners is important…really important? That would be great, wouldn’t it?
Okay, but what about you? Are you as a small business owner doing your part to draw customers in and make your products and services stand out this holiday season among all the fierce competition? What are your goals this year? Are you networking with other local businesses to create an inviting event-type atmosphere—especially during the year’s biggest shopping weekend and on Small Business Saturday in particular—one that will enable you to make the most of this tremendous, once-a-year business opportunity?
If you are, then great! And if you’re not just yet, it’s not too late to make a plan. While your first step should be to visit the official Small Business Saturday website to find out more about all of the tools, resources and options that are available to you at no charge as a small business owner who wants to participate, additional findings from the Deluxe survey may also help guide your efforts this year.
Here they are…
• Get online! A full 78% of the 1,000 consumers surveyed nationwide said they will shop online this season, and close to a third of them said they prefer a small business or boutique website. Here’s the thing though…slightly more than half of them say they will not go much past the first two pages in their online search results when looking for gift ideas, so engaging in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques and strategies for small businesses is especially important.
• Appreciate them! Your customers want to be and feel appreciated, and when it comes to holiday incentives and gifts, they prefer a discount (47%) on a future product or service as much as anything else. Holiday cards are appreciated by 18% of your customers, while 13% would prefer a “unique gift item” of some kind.
• Start now!
A full 42% of holiday shoppers plan to begin buying their gifts in early November.
• Age matters! While many shoppers are going to start their holiday hunt for the perfect gifts soon, the younger set between the ages of 18 and 44 concedes they are more likely to shop last minute, so you may want to target your products and services accordingly.
And finally, another reason to be not only optimistic, but prepared…the National Retail Federation predicts that holiday shopping sales will be higher this year than in 2012. In fact, sales during the months of November and December are predicted to increase by close to 4%.
So, small business owners...now is the time to get ready for what we all hope will be a successful and profitable holiday shopping season!