Opinion & Editorial

Experiential shopping’? Local stores invented it!

As online shopping has steadily grown during the past decade, brick-and-mortar retail businesses have been looking at new ways to address this shift.
In an attempt to convert some of those “clicks” back to “bricks,” experiential shopping has become the latest trend and marketing technique for traditional retailers. Experiential shopping can take many shapes – a focus on consumer engagement over sales, creating an experience to share with others or offering services beyond the products sold, to name a few.
But for most mom-and-pop businesses, this is simply business as usual, and has been for generations. Small businesses are the original experiential shopping experience. There are no new marketing techniques at play – just an authentic, personal shopping experience.
That is why the #ShopSmall movement isimportant. It reinforces the importance of spending our money in the shops that power our economy, our communities and our lives.
Small Business Saturday will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Nov. 30.
Last year, a record estimated $17.8 billion was spent on Small Business Saturday at independent retailers and restaurants – momentum I urge you to continue by shopping small this holiday season.
Supporting Small Business Saturday doesn’t have to be a choice between “clicks” or “bricks,” either. More and more small businesses are bringing their local and personal touch to the convenience of online shopping. In fact, 41% of consumers who reported shopping on Small Business Saturday last year did so by shopping small online.
There are nearly 378,000 small businesses in Oregon; and, more than half of the Oregon workforce either is employed by a small business or owns a small business. Plus, two out of three net new jobs are created by small businesses.
Spending your dollars with a small business this holiday season not only grows the economy, it typically comes with a great story to share: the artist who handcrafted a piece of jewelry, the father and son who took their barbecue rub recipes to market, the corporate pro who decided to pursue a passion for pet care … they are the people who naturally create experiential shopping for consumers simply by being themselves.

Jeremy Field is the Regional Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Pacific Northwest Region.



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