Black Friday and Cyber Monday get most of the holiday shopping hype. But if you want your shopping to be more impactful and align with your values, consider spending on Saturday instead.
Founded in 2010 by American Express, Small Business Saturday takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The goal is to get people to spend their money with small businesses instead of major retailers, which has a number of benefits. Here are five reasons you should participate.
Support the Local Economy
Shopping small is one way to invest in your neighborhood. “Small businesses support local economies by creating jobs and paying local taxes, which keeps money in communities,” explained Tyler Martin, founder and certified business coach at ThinkTyler. In fact, for every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S., about 67 cents stays in the local community versus 45 cents when spending at a big box store, according to American Express. “By buying at independently owned companies, people may directly support their neighbors and contribute to the growth of their local economy,” Tyler added.
Receive Better Customer Service
If you’re sick of automated emails, long phone queues and unhelpful chat bots, you’re not the only one. Seventy-four percent of respondents in a Forbes survey said they would spend more money to get improved customer service. Fortunately, small businesses are known for providing just that. “Often, small businesses have a vested interest in making sure their customers are happy because they want them to purchase again,” said Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst with DealNews.com. “Because of that, they may be more willing to work with you and make things right if something goes wrong with your order.”
Find Unique, Quality Products
If you’re looking to impress the people on your gift list this year, you might want to shop at a small business over a mega-retailer. For one, small businesses are often responsible for crafting their own products, meaning they may hold things to a higher standard compared to if they were mass-produced overseas, according to Ramhold. Plus, small businesses often create unique products that stand out from all the other items you can find anywhere. Admittedly, you may end up paying more for these products, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.
Be More Green
Having whatever your heart desires shipped to your house within two days for free is certainly convenient, but that convenience comes at a cost to the environment. Mass production and fast shipping mean more vehicles on the roads, more packaging waste and more resources consumed. But small-scale Saturday shopping can be environmentally friendly, according to Tyler. “When locally owned enterprises source raw materials or produced items locally, the distance traveled by goods is reduced,” he said. So if you’re looking to go green, start by buying from local businesses.
Support Independent Creators
These days, lots of people are starting their own side hustles, especially since the pandemic caused millions to lose their full-time gigs overnight. “If you know an indie creator who’s trying to turn that hustle into a full-time job, supporting them is the best thing you can do,” Ramhold said. “Shop, post to social media, give their items to others — basically spread the word and buy what you can afford in order to help their business succeed.”
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