5 Ways to Support Small Businesses
Wondering how you can help as a consumer? Here are some ideas.
Many independent businesses continue to struggle, but there are ways to help.
In Israel, as in the wider world, owners have creatively come up with strategies to keep businesses afloat, which benefits consumers, proprietors and a neighborhood’s commercial health
There’s a multiplier effect if you buy from a bakery, a hardware or gift store. Those stores need accountants, they buy from suppliers, and employ people. Naturally, the success of one business does its bit for the entire economy. Israeli retailing is characterized by more small stores than large ones.
So how can consumers contribute to this virtuous cycle, particularly now? Here are some tips to consider.
1 - Buy Local
Before you hit “place order” with an e-commerce behemoth, find out whether a local store offers the same item. Go for a walk, visit a store, keep your mask on and shop.
But shopping locally does not necessarily mean skipping all online sites. A lot of local companies also have online sites.
When sending gifts to out-of-town friends and family, look for independent stores. Think about blue and white, locally produced products.
2 - Go to the Source
When you need delivery, consider restaurants that have their own delivery services, rather than immediately using a delivery app.
And while it is easy to purchase through a so-called digital shop on sites like Facebook and Instagram, shopping through third-party apps typically reduces the net profit for the merchant. (Facebook, which owns Instagram, has waived selling fees through the end of the year but will re-evaluate the practice in January, a Facebook spokeswoman said in an email.)
3 - Be Social
It can be an enormous help to bolster a business’s social media presence by “liking” bread shops, gifts shops, dry cleaners and other independent shops on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Write positive reviews, post photos generously of purchases, and don’t forget to tag the businesses. Often store owners don’t know and don’t have time for a lot of posting on social media.
I like the idea of “adopt a shop” effort, in which residents select a store and commit to shopping there once a week (with no spending minimum) and posting about their experiences on Facebook. This is a great local exercise.
4 - Don’t Haggle on Price
Everyone loves a discount, but perhaps now is not the time. If you can afford it, pay full price. Not every small store is the Shuk. Would you do it at a big store? So why at a small store?
5 - Practice Kindness
Store owners are under enormous, sometimes existential, pressure right now, so share emotional support when you can. Ask retailers how they are holding up and inquire about employees who may now be unemployed.
Thank you and Hanukkah Sameach.
(Written by Barbara Shaw - based on an article by Ellen Rosen in the New York Times Nov 23rd 2020)