You’ve likely heard about Black Friday and Small Business Saturday – the two giant retail-shopping sale events that take place after Thanksgiving. The former is dominated by discounts from big-box stores, while the latter is dedicated to patronizing locally owned stores.
These days have traditionally been relatively separate shopping days, but there’s actually a way to combine the two. When you set out to snag deals this Black Friday, here are three reasons why it might be best to shop small on Nov. 28:
1. Shorter Lines, Smaller Crowds
If you’ve never gone Black Friday shopping before, what’s been holding you back? If you have gone Black Friday shopping in the past, what’s been your biggest complaint? More likely than not, the answer to both of these questions is the same – the crowds. Major retailers and big-box stores are overwhelmed with masses of bargain hunters on Black Friday, which in some cases creates chaos and causes headaches.
One huge plus of shopping at small businesses on Black Friday instead of their crowded counterparts is the ability to avoid the throngs of deal seekers. Fewer crowds will mean shorter lines and less waiting time for you. Plus, with all that time and energy you’ll save by not having to dodge your fellow shoppers or stand in line for hours at the cash register, you’ll be able to shop at more stores and snag more deals.
Remember, though, even if a small store will have a smaller number of patrons than a big-name retailer, it’s still important to arrive early to ensure you won’t miss your must-have deal.
2. Better Service From Mom and Pop
They’re some of the reasons why mom-and-pop shops are so popular – a small-town feel and a welcoming atmosphere. If you’re interested in a more personalized Black Friday shopping experience, consider patronizing a smaller store. You’re likely to be greeted by friendly and knowledgeable staff members.
And don’t worry, you may not have to sacrifice the quality of your sale for the quality of your experience. More and more small businesses are being encouraged to get in on the Black Friday and holiday shopping season extravaganza.
Websites such as LegalZoom and Forbes offer tips for how business owners can utilize retail strategies – social media, email marketing, online coupons and more – to compete with larger competitors. If small business owners take this advice, this may mean that customers can stand to attend great events and receive great customer service at the same time if they opt to shop small.
3. Keep Cash in Your Community
There are 23 million small businesses in America, and these businesses account for 54% of the country’s total sales, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Needless to say, small businesses are a big part of the economy, which is why many consumers want to do their part to keep independent stores thriving. Plus, studies have found that shopping at small stores – as opposed to at large chains – keeps more money concentrated in the local economy.
When American Express created Small Business Saturday in 2010, the day was intended to be a way to promote small businesses and encourage shoppers to support the businesses and entrepreneurs in their communities. Several years later, the movement is growing and thriving. In 2013, shoppers spent $5.7 billion on Small Business Saturday, a 3.6% increase from the previous year, according to the National Federation of Independent Business and American Express. As for this year, Grasshopper predicts the day will see an additional $200 million increase, for a total of $5.9 billion spent on Small Business Saturday 2014.
But keeping money local doesn’t have to be reserved for the Saturday after Thanksgiving. You can support small businesses near you by spending your Black Friday budget and your holiday shopping dollars in general at locally owned stores instead of major retailers. In fact, there’s even a nationwide movement to shop local on more days than simply Small Business Saturday. The Shift Your Shopping campaign encourages consumers to make their purchases at local and independent stores throughout the holiday season.
So before you camp out in front of Target on Black Friday (or Thanksgiving), consider whether shopping small would be a good fit for you.
Small business image via Shutterstock