Alignable, the social network for local business owners and Independent We Stand, a national movement dedicated to educating communities about the importance of “buying local,” released the results of a survey which asked local business owners in the U.S. of their plans and expectations for the holiday shopping season. The survey gathered 739 responses from business owners across the country, here's what we found.
The survey revealed that the majority of small business owners who responded are feeling optimistic, in regards to sales, for the 2014 holiday shopping season. In fact, 60% of respondents predict an increase in business sales in comparison to last year. 'Buy Local' campaigns may be contributing toward that optimism, with 77% of respondents reporting they feel “buy local” campaigns can help build sales.
Small Businesses plan to employ a wide variety of tactics to attract shoppers and compete with national businesses. 52% of respondents plan to participate in Small Business Saturday; which is a national event organized by AMEX Open, to encourage shoppers to support businesses in their community; instead of the big boxes and national chains.
The owner of a gallery in Lawrenceville, Georgia, commented, “We have seen our business grow each holiday season. We have participated in Small Business Saturday each year since its inception. We promote ‘buy local’ and support small businesses in the area, all year round…”
Other tactics local business owners will use during the holiday season include: holding special events, cross-promotions with neighbor businesses, and “holiday strolls.” Break-down of responses are as follows:
- Offering discounts and specials (59%)
- Offering unique or hard-to-find products (47%)
- Holding special events (41%)
- Cross-promoting with one or more local businesses (38%)
- Participating in town-wide “Holiday Stroll” or other type of town or neighborhood event (32%)
- Offering products online (32%)
- Extending store hours (24%)
Competing against National Retailers
Business owners are very clear on their primary weapon against the big guys. 58% chose “a personal connection with my customers” as the primary weapon that helps them compete against large and online retailers. “Unique selection of products” came in a distant second (12%) followed by “promoting my business as locally owned” (11%).
The owner of a carpet store in Bloomington, Minnesota, commented, “We find it beneficial to be located by big-box competition. The area's highest volume Home Depot store is directly across the street from us and everyday customers come from them to us. The biggest reason is that we are knowledgeable in our industry and can offer a level of service and personalization that the big stores could never do.”
Based in Waltham, MA, Alignable is the first social network exclusively for local business owners and the organizations that support them. Tens of thousands of local businesses in all 50 states and Canada use Alignable to connect, communicate and collaborate simply, securely, and effectively in their communities and across their industries. Its founders and staff are passionate about building software that helps local business and the organizations they work with succeed.
Independent We Stand
Independent We Stand is a movement of independent business owners across the country to inform their communities about the importance of “Buying Local” and how these efforts bolster their local economy. This movement supports all local and national causes committed to boosting local economic development projects. The Independent We Stand movement is co-sponsored by STIHL Inc. and Chrysler Group. www.IndependentWeStand.org