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Small businesses were among the hardest hit during the pandemic. Of the 30.7 million small businesses in the U.S., 40% closed and reported a 40% decrease in overall revenue.

Two-thirds of small businesses said they needed to see consumer spending return to what it was before the pandemic by the end of 2020 to stay open. But things are slowly picking up.

Businesses quickly switched strategies and shifted operations online to adapt. According to Facebook’s State of Small Businesses Report, 36% of personal businesses started selling online.

Besides the internet, initiatives such as the Shop Small Movement helped small businesses get back on their feet.

Keep reading to learn:

  • What the Shop Small Movement is
  • Why it’s important to shop small
  • How your business can participate in the Shop Small Movement

What the Shop Small Movement Is

The Shop Small Movement (also referred to as Shop Small) is an initiative that was started by American Express in 2010 to help small businesses. It encourages people to support Small Business Saturday, held on the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday’s mega sales.

Since being introduced, the movement has received national support and recognition from the U.S. Senate and even former President Barack Obama.

Why You Should Shop Small

There are several benefits to supporting local businesses. Here are some key reasons to shop small:

  • It creates jobs. Fundera states small companies create 1.5 million new jobs annually, which accounts for 64% of new jobs created in the US each year.
  • It stimulates the local economy. Small businesses have a “multiplier effect” — they usually hire local employees who are likely to purchase from nearby establishments, in turn providing income to those other businesses. For every $100 spent, $68 goes to the community.
  • It helps the environment. Small businesses usually source products locally, which contributes to a smaller carbon footprint than large corporations.

Supporting the Shop Small Movement does not have to be restricted to the weekend after Thanksgiving— it can be practiced year round.

Tips for Participating in the Shop Small Movement

Most people in the community are willing to support local businesses. In 2019, over 7,000 people participated in Small Business Saturday as Neighborhood Champions, which led to consumers spending a reported $19.6 billion.

Here are some things you can do to encourage your customers to shop small:

Enhance Your Customers’ Experience 

When you have a physical store, it’s crucial to create a safe yet memorable in-store shopping experience for your customers, especially during this time.

Give shoppers a reason to choose your business over large retailers. Add personalized touches, such as a handwritten note or extra treats for your customer.

Offer customers safe shopping alternatives, such as pre-ordering goods for pick-up and delivery, or redirect customers to order from your online store.

Improve Your Online Presence 

Businesses have had to shift online just to stay afloat. Take advantage of the new platform and create a buzz by:

  • Offering online-only specials to encourage customers to stay home and stay safe.
  • Keeping your social pages updated to share relevant news and information to your online community.
  • Improving your website experience. Besides providing a safe and speedy shopping experience, improve your website’s local search engine optimization (SEO) presence so people living nearby will be able to find you.

Still need convincing? According to Think with Google:

  • 28% of searches nearby result in a purchase
  • 54% of smartphone users search for business hours and 53% search for directions to a local store
  • About 45% of global shoppers buy online and then pick up in-store

Run a Contest or Giveaway 

Try running a contest or giveaway to market your business, grow your following, and increase engagement. You can also partner with other local companies to reach a larger audience.

Ask Customers To Spread the Word

Whether it’s through word-of-mouth, asking customers to leave a product review, or asking them to share and tag photos on social media, no effort is too small. 

A majority of small businesses were negatively affected by the 2020 pandemic restrictions. With changes in strategy, such as moving to online platforms and the support of local businesses, companies are slowly recovering from their losses.

Are you thinking of making a shift online? Check out Bluehost’s eCommerce hosting. We’ll take care of everything so you can get your eCommerce website up in only five minutes. You can also get full-service website assistance through professional services like Blue Sky.

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