Tis the season that small local businesses shine. They have spent all year getting ready for these precious few weeks where more people are shopping, buying gifts, gathering with friends and spending money. Did you know that many local retail stores rely on these next few weeks for 30-40% of their annual sales?
So much has gone on behind the scenes in these small local shops to get ready for these festive days. Their 'buyers' have spent hundreds of hours analyzing and predicting what you might be interested in this holiday season. They have spent many more hours creating and tweaking spreadsheets to come up with the best price point and quantity to order. They have spent hours contacting and negotiating with suppliers for these items. All along hoping that the ‘accounting department' will make payment for this inventory. ‘Human Resources’ advertises for seasonal help, pours over applicants, interviews candidates to find the best talent who aligns with the company’s core values. Then the 'merchandising team' steps in and figures out how to creatively present these products in the a way that will make the consumer enticed enough to pick it up, envision it in their home or someone else's or under the tree and then make that purchase.
Seems like a simple process, Amazon, Nordstrom, and Starbucks make it all look simple. Now consider that the team of ‘buyers’ is in fact the sole proprietor of the business who has to fit in all this analyzing and planning before the store opens, in between customers or after dinner. “Human Resources’ is also the shop owner who not only has to find someone who is responsible and friendly but they also need to add doing payroll to their tasks. The ‘merchandising’ team is, you guessed it, the sole proprietor who is opening and closing the store each day. The money issued from that ‘accounting department’ is often directly from the sole proprietor's personal bank account or credit cards, which they are willing to risk for the success of the season.
So next time you feel too lazy to pop in to a small local shop and think “I could just order something online”, stop for a second and consider what has gone on behind the scenes of that simple storefront full of wonderful unique items that you just hurried by.
One more thing, When you shop small and go up to the counter with your items and hand over your credit card, I guarantee you that the ‘buying department’, the ‘merchandising department’, the 'accounting department’ and the ‘HR department' are all doing a little happy dance! That small feeling of success is their 'Bonus check'! Who do you think is doing that happy dance when you buy something online from a major retailer?
Think Small, think local this holiday season! I would love to hear about your small local experiences and don’t forget to give a shout out to your favorite shops to your friends, family and on social media. You can make a difference, you could help add some sparkle to their holidays. (Can you guess who their ‘social media manager’ is?)