holiday shopping

How Customers Can Support Small Businesses This Holiday Shopping Season

Considerable momentum is shaping the 2021 holiday shopping season. The National Retail Federation predicts holiday spending in 2021, excluding automobile dealers, gas stations and restaurants, will shatter previous records. Holiday sales are forecast to grow between 8.5% and 10.5% in November and December 2021. The previous spending high was 8.2% in 2020.

Holiday spending has been experiencing an average increase of 4.4% over the past five years. Adobe’s “Adobe Holiday Forecast 2021” report shares key findings for the holiday 2021 shopping season. Some of these include demand levels poised to surge for online spending, the growing popularity of buy now, pay later (BNPL) adoption for smaller orders, and rising curbside utilization levels to help combat shipping and logistical issues.

Small businesses are also gearing up for a busy holiday shopping season. Local businesses are committing to Shop Small on Small Business Saturday. Beyond participating in this Nov. 27 event, how else can customers show support for local businesses during the holidays?

Start shopping early

The early bird gets the worm — and beyond the worm, they get to snag existing inventory this year. As noted in the Adobe report, some of the holiday shopping challenges in 2021 include businesses dealing with limited inventory due to supply chain disruptions and seasonal discounts impacted by inflation.

One of the best ways to combat these issues, if you haven’t already started, is to shop early. Reach out to your favorite small businesses and learn more about discounts they may be offering this season. Sign up for e-newsletters and follow the businesses on social media for more information. Some shopping news that businesses may share in e-newsletters or on social include discounts, notifications for when out-of-stock items are back in stock (and links for purchase), and any changes to their hours of operation.

Refer talent for job openings

Small businesses may struggle to find and hire employees, even as seasonal staff members.

Locals can lend a hand by reaching out to their network. Do you know someone local who is looking for a job? Reach out to the talent you know and refer them to the business and its job listing. If you know the owner of the business, reach out with an e-introduction and loop in the talent to start chatting with the owner.

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Follow COVID-19 guidelines when shopping

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately, will still be present during the 2021 holiday shopping season. In addition to risks poised by the Delta variant, it is also flu season.

Out shopping? Remember to follow COVID-19 guidelines in your given area. This helps lower the risk of possible infection for other shoppers and staff inside storefront shops. Wear a mask before entering a store and keep it on while shopping. Maintain a distance of six feet from the nearest shopper and frequently sanitize your hands. Stay home if you do not feel well. (You can still shop online if you are at home!)

Write positive reviews

On a budget this year? Even if you can’t spend as much, you can still help create positive word of mouth online to support your favorite small businesses.

Leave positive reviews on sites like Yelp and Trustpilot, like and share social media posts, and @ mention the business on your own social media accounts, sharing photos and videos of great shopping experiences at the space with your audience.

Buy gift cards

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the best methods for supporting small businesses has been the purchase of gift cards.

Gift cards, or gift certificates, may be used throughout the year to support the business. Buy what you love now — or come back for it later!

Verizon Small Business Digital Ready: A free resource for basic business skills, the latest digital technology and more.

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