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It’s the season of spending time with loved ones — and showing them your love and gratitude through thoughtful Christmas gifts. So, when you’re shopping for Christmas gifts this year, make shopping small a priority. Shopping small and supporting local businesses is a win for everyone — it builds community and rewards loyalty, and is sure to inspire a smile…here’s why.
When you shop small or buy locally, it keeps money and jobs in your local area. In fact, research by Visa shows that of every £10 spent with an independently-owned local businesses, £3.80 stays in the local area. This means that more funds stay in your community to make improvements and encourage growth. And when a neighbourhood has its own flourishing small businesses, it can result in community-wide perks like more foot traffic, higher property values and greater public involvement (all tenets of a thriving community).
Whether you want to treat yourself or have a long list of loved ones to shop for, make it a priority to shop small this Christmas. Here are 8 easy ways you can shop consciously, support your community and champion small businesses this festive season.
- Prioritise shopping locally.
- Buy a gift card.
- Commit to shopping small for 24 hours.
- Share your experience with a social media post.
- Subscribe to their mailing list.
- Leave a review.
- Tip generously.
- Offer to help.
1. Prioritise shopping locally.
We’re guessing you have a long list of gifts you need to buy for your loved ones. Instead of turning to a larger business or department store, shop small first. Chances are, a local business or maker can help you tick off your entire Christmas shopping list. Plus, when you shop locally, you won’t have to worry about delivery times. Shopping locally also isn’t just about buying gifts, but rather everything you need at Christmas — like the ingredients for your Christmas dinner, which could be bought at your local farmers’ market.
2. Buy a gift card.
Need a gift for someone who has everything? Get them a gift card to your favourite small business. Whether it’s a favourite restaurant in town or a new boutique, you’ll introduce your loved ones to a great small business *and* give them a gift they’re sure to love. And we have a feeling small business owners will appreciate new customers coming in to use their gift cards once the Christmas rush is over.
3. Commit to shopping small for 24 hours.
Choose one day of the festive season to dedicate to shopping small. Start the day with a cup of coffee from a local cafe, indulge in some self-care at a nearby spa, do some Christmas shopping at local boutiques and end the evening at your favourite restaurant or with a tasty takeaway.
Prefer to shop online? Digital platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Etsy are great places to find up-and-coming makers in your area or one-of-a-kind gifts online.
4. Share your experience with a social media post.
If you bought something for yourself, show off your purchase with a post on Instagram or Facebook — tag the small business and use the hashtag #LoveMyLocal to encourage your connections to shop local, too. If you shopped for your family and friends, snap a picture of the gift-wrapped goods or take a selfie in front of the shop’s window display. Or, take a pic of your purchase now and share it after you’ve given the gift…no need to ruin the surprise! And don’t forget to follow the business’ social pages and like, comment or share their posts to help them get noticed.
5. Subscribe to their mailing list.
An active, engaged mailing list is a valuable tool for any small business. Whether via email or through the post, keeping an up-to-date contact list lets business owners stay connected to clients, build relationships and cater to specific audiences. If you visit a shop and don’t buy anything, leaving your email address lets you show your support without spending a penny. And who knows — maybe a new product launch or special event will turn you into a paying customer later on.
6. Leave a review.
It can be tricky for small business owners to ask for reviews…but they need (and want!) them. As a customer, leaving a glowing review is one of the best — and easiest — things you can do to support a small business. Even if it’s been a while since you used a local florist or had your hair cut, show your favourite businesses some love over the festive season with a fresh review.
Did you have a poor experience at a small business? Instead of posting a negative review on Google or their Facebook page, reach out to the business directly to resolve the issue. You don’t want to disparage a small business over a one-off mistake or misunderstanding.
7. Tip generously.
The festive season is the biggest shopping event of the year — everyone is busy and many businesses are understaffed. And this is the season to be generous, especially when it comes to tipping. Whether you’re meeting a friend for a coffee date on Christmas Eve, enjoying a meal out on Christmas Day or getting your hair done on New Year’s Eve, leave a generous tip to show your appreciation for the people helping to make your Christmas memorable.
8. Offer to help.
Supporting local businesses doesn’t have to cost you money — instead, offer your time and skills. Do you specialise in event planning? Offer to help a local business plan and promote a Christmas event. Are you an artist or graphic designer? Maybe you can use temporary paint to deck out the windows of your favourite coffee shop. More of a finance or accounting person? Consider offering an end-of-year financial planning session with a business owner — maybe you can barter with them for a special discount.