The most wonderful time of the year is also the most competitive. For retailers of all shapes and sizes, the holiday shopping season means big business. For small and independent retailers, though, the holiday season comes with a unique set of challenges, as national chains, big-box stores and online-only retailers run increasingly flashy Black Friday promotions and season-long gimmicks. To level the playing field, small businesses should work together to achieve holiday season success.
By collaborating, small businesses can build strength in numbers. They can share lessons from years past and tap into each other’s customer bases. They can grow quickly and distribute losses, just like their larger counterparts – but it’s not all about playing like the competition.
Small businesses can also work together to multiply their impact on the local economy. Research shows that independent retailers recirculate more than three times as much of their revenues into the local economy as national chains and big boxes do. Independent businesses make an even bigger difference than online-only retailers like Amazon. By boosting their holiday sales, small businesses can make the season even more meaningful for the entire community.
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Even if you can’t commit to rallying your neighborhood, you can still celebrate the holidays with your community. Local Main Street groups, downtown associations and chambers of commerce fill the holiday season with local traditions, including holiday parades, light displays and caroling sessions. Each of these events represents a new opportunity to make connections in your community. By working with the host organization, you can network with other small business owners and local leaders. By participating in the event, you’ll introduce your business to local residents and consumers during the important holiday shopping season. In this way, you can drive traffic to your business and to other small businesses in the community at the time when people are most likely to shop small.
A focus on local traditions has another advantage: It’s genuine. While national chains and big-box retailers slash prices to the tune of classic jingles, you and your fellow neighborhood businesses will create a campaign that’s true to the community. As a result, the connections you make with consumers and community members will run deeper than a catchy commercial or a flashy catalog. By connecting your business to a treasured tradition, you’ll leave a lasting impression that serves your team well into the new year.