Many consumers are planning to focus their holiday shopping sprees close to home in 2014, according to recent research. This trend is good news for small business owners, many of whom have had a tough time staying afloat in recent years.
G/O Digital, a digital marketing solutions company, conducted a survey of over 1,000 consumers between the ages of 35 and 54 to find out how consumers plan to shop for the holidays in 2014. The results of the survey are very encouraging for anyone who owns a small business. Nearly two-thirds of consumers plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping locally, with only 1 percent planning not to shop at a local small business at all.
Why are consumers favoring local businesses in 2014? The survey revealed various reasons for this preference. The most common reason for shopping locally, cited by more than a third of consumers, is a desire to support local businesses. Another 23 percent said that local businesses provide them with unique products or services they cannot get from the big multinationals. Almost as many people, 22 percent of those surveyed, said that local businesses have more affordable prices. However, consumers are not shunning the online shopping experience entirely. More than four-in-five consumers search for products online before they buy from a small business in their neighborhood. Many consumers research their holiday gifts online, with nearly half checking prices online.
The G/O Digital survey also revealed that half of all consumers plan to leave the majority of their shopping until the last three weeks before Christmas. This means small business owners still have plenty of time to put their holiday marketing campaigns into action. As more than one-third of customers go online to look up local businesses by name, having an online presence is important for even the smallest of small businesses. A mobile-friendly website is becoming increasingly important, as ever-greater numbers of consumers are using their smartphones and tablets to research products, businesses and prices online.
In 2013, retailers that fared the best over the holiday season were those who offered the best customer service. For both brick-and-mortar retailers and online retailers, customer service was a key performance indicator over the 2013 holiday season, according to research by the analysis company ForeSee. The results of this annual rating can offer some good tips for small business owners for whom customer service is one way in which to compete with larger rivals.
By offering a unique range of products and unbeatable customer service, small business owners can ensure their success over the holiday season. In 2014, more consumers intend to shop locally for gifts, which is good news for small business owners across the nation.
Photo courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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