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This Season, We Mean (Small) Business

December 9, 2020

While the holiday season is typically a stressful season, it is also the most wonderful time of the year for small businesses. A large boost in sales is always a welcome gift in helping companies keep their operation afloat during slower times of the year. Unfortunately, and not to be a total grinch here, but 2020 (as we all know) has been a real bah humbug.  

Many small businesses have struggled to keep their doors open for a myriad of reasons we’re all too familiar with. To make things even more challenging, many larger conglomerates like Amazon, Target and Walmart (to name a few) are taking away precious sales from these companies. And while this has been happening for years, this season is looking especially troubling, given that most people are resorting to the necessary conveniences of online shopping.

But things aren’t completely dire. There is still an opportunity for local businesses to promote their sales and get that boost they’re literally banking on. But before we get into that, I need to say something. Think of yourself and how you’re doing your personal shopping this year. If you’ve resorted to companies like Amazon delivery and Target curbside pickup – why? It’s the convenience.

If you want people to shop at your business this season, you have to make things as easy and as convenient as it is with the big boys.

If you want people to shop at your business this season, you have to make things as easy and as convenient as it is with the big boys. You can’t just expect consumers to support you out of the kindness of their hearts, because that only goes so far. So here are a few ways in which you can combat the mega-corps and use some of the same methods.

Instagram Shopping:    

This feature was recently rolled out to the masses (in certain markets), and has proven to be an incredibly valuable tool for small businesses. Instagram allows you to not only promote a product via a catalog that lives directly on Instagram, but to give shoppers the ability to purchase directly within the app. Convenience, baby! Head to the link HERE to learn more about how to set this up.

Pro tip: After you’ve built your catalog, create a holiday shopping guide via the Instagram Guides feature (https://later.com/blog/instagram-guides/) to give users an even easier way to access your most desirable products this season.

Amazon?

Now wait a minute, weren’t you just saying to steer clear of Amazon? Yes, but if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. It is impossible to deny how ubiquitous of an organization Amazon is. Many businesses turn to Amazon to sell their products and in return can find a solid boost when it comes to increasing sales. Did you know more than 50 percent of Amazon’s sales go through third-party sellers with storefronts on the platform? If you’re interested in selling on Amazon HERE is a link you can head to which will help you setup your online store. One thing to note though, and factor into your margins, is that on the individual plan you’ll pay $0.99 every time you sell an item.

Google My Business:

Just because a large portion of individuals are shopping online these days, doesn’t mean you should neglect those who prefer to shop in person. That being said, you still need to provide an easy path to purchase for them, especially in these weird times. With Google as the dominant search engine (by a long shot) you need to educate your audience on how they can find you and in turn shop with you. This is where Google My Business comes into play. Creating an account is 100% free. Once you’ve done so you’ll be able to educate your audience on when you’re open and where they can find you. More importantly, you’ll be able to tell them if you offer curbside delivery and all the other fun services we’ve become accustomed to in 2020. This not only provides updates to a Google Search, but it also updates Google Maps, which in my opinion is sometimes more important. 

Don’t Forget About Apple:

Just because Google is the big player when it comes to search and maps, that doesn’t mean you should neglect those who use Apple Maps. While the platform had a bit of a bumpy launch, that was 9 operating systems ago. Apple Maps has come a long long way since then, adding some really solid updates over the years. If you’d like to update your business on there, you can head to their Apple Maps Connect feature to update your business information. 

This year and this holiday season have been challenging for all of us. But in many ways, it has pushed companies out of complacency and forced us to look at how to do business differently. We have known for a while that these large companies are really hurting small businesses, but rather than just letting that happen, we need to look at ways to shift our business strategy and adapt to this day and age. On top of all this, we need to continue to promote our efforts via social media to educate our audience. Everyone’s screentime has skyrocketed these past 9 months, so meet them where their eyeballs are and give them an easy and effective way to spread their dollars with small businesses. 

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