This winter, more shoppers will be visiting small businesses to check off items on their gift list. According to the Deluxe Annual Shopping Survey, 35 percent of consumers reported that they were likely to shop in small stores and boutiques, which is an increase of 8 percentage points from 2012. Also, more consumers plan to visit small businesses than major retail chains, as only 22 percent said they will shop at chain establishments.
Propelling the interest in local stores is a desire to find unique items and support local businesses. Nearly half of respondents said the reason for shopping local is to find one-of-a-kind merchandise. Others stated that good prices and personalized service are important factors. The biggest reason shoppers explore smaller shops, however, is because they feel it is important to support small businesses, with 57 percent of respondents giving this reason.
The survey also asked what small retailers can do to make customers feel appreciated. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they’d like a discount on future products or services, while 18 percent preferred a holiday card and 13 percent said they would like a unique gift.
A growing interest in local stores could mean a significant boost in sales for small retailers. In anticipation of the rush, shop owners may find this year a good time to make upgrades and expand. A renovated interior, enhanced selection of products or larger staff could all be improvements that boost sales even further.
Although lending from banks has tightened up this fall, owners can still obtain financing from a small business lender. National Funding offers a variety of loan services that are processed quickly and with minimal paperwork. Retailers could potentially receive their funding in less than 24 hours, allowing them to immediately begin work on shop improvements.