The holiday season is right around the corner–and this year’s Small Business Saturday kicks off just after Thanksgiving on November 26th. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for your loved ones or want to treat yourself to a holiday glow-up, this is an ideal opportunity to support businesses in your community in a meaningful way. Just how meaningful is this support? According to American Express, $0.67 of every dollar spent at a small business remains local–much more than at big box stores. Also, more folks are choosing to shop locally. During Small Business Saturday 2021, nearly 180 million U.S. shoppers decided to shop small and pumped $20 billion into their local economies.
Ready to get started on your holiday shopping? Here are 7 ways you can make an impact this Small Business Saturday and all year long.
1. Buy your gifts from small businesses
Chances are that you’re already planning on buying gifts for those important to you. Why not set an intention to make your purchases from locally-owned businesses when possible?
Small businesses can often offer you something small batch, exclusive, or made with a personal touch. These gifts can carry greater significance than the latest gadget ordered online or snatched off the shelf of a major chain.
Giving your gift might even prompt the question, “Where did you find this?” which can open the door for you to spread the word about your Small Business Saturday discovery.
2. Shop online directly from your favorite small business’ website
Many small businesses offer eCommerce in addition to brick-and-mortar shopping. However, be careful where you buy. While companies like Amazon allow small business owners to sell products through their massive platform, they also take a cut.
Instead, make it a point to buy directly from the business’ website. If possible, select the “buy online and pick up in-store” option, which can give you an excuse to hit up their shop while running other errands. Who knows? You may discover other gift ideas when you stop by.
3. Actively seek out new brands to support
Everyone has a set of brands that command their loyalty, but this Small Business Saturday allows you to break out of your routine.
No matter where you live, there are likely stores you’ve never visited or restaurants you’ve yet to try. Keep an eye out for independent bookstores, clothing shops, and other shores you’ve never supported before and stop in for a visit.
Not sure where to start? You can use the Shop App to find new businesses and keep track of your online orders.
4. Buy gift cards from small businesses you love
Need help finding something for a hard-to-please person on your list? Gift cards are often a safe bet and aren’t just for retail stores. Many local restaurants offer them, as do cafés, service providers, and even galleries. With gift cards, the business gets paid immediately, and the person you give it to can enjoy something unique at their convenience.
5. Go out to eat at local restaurants and cafés
Instead of eating out at a major dining chain, make it a point to check out local restaurants. Most do takeout or curbside pickup, making them a great option for grabbing a meal after a day of shopping.
You might also swing into a local coffee shop while running your weekend errands. Many shops even feature live music and local artists, letting you ditch the impersonal big brand chains for a distinctly local flavor.
6. Share your favorite stores on your social media
Have you recently discovered a new favorite store or restaurant? Tell someone! Share a quick post about your shopping experience or upload a photo of your meal. You’re essentially providing the business owner with free, well-deserved publicity, and your friends might follow your lead and stop by next time they’re in the area.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Yelp also allow you to check in at participating locations. This can be a simple way to let your friends and followers know you’re supporting a local business and encourage them to do the same.
If your friends and followers ask for input on their holiday shopping choices, comment on their posts with recommendations from your favorite businesses. Not only will you be answering their questions, but you might give them some good ideas.
7. Rethink how you shop
Shopping locally may require some changes to how you usually buy. Consider your community along with the price and convenience of the item or service you’re looking to purchase. By keeping small businesses in mind, you stand not only to cross items off your shopping list but also to open your eyes to the people who make your area such a wonderful place to be.
Looking for fantastic gift ideas?
At BILL, it’s our mission to empower small and mid-sized businesses with financial automation. Check out our 2022 gift guide that brings together two of our favorite things: the holidays and our incredible customers. This year we've added even more customers, industries, and deals to help you save time and money this holiday season.