75 Percent Of Consumers Plan To Shop Local For The Holidays

But local SMBs will have to capture shoppers' attention via digital means in order to benefit.

Approximately 75 percent of consumers say they plan to patronize local SMBs for their holiday shopping needs, according to Vistaprint’s 2017 Consumer Small Business Shopping Report — but most shoppers will make decisions about which of these businesses to visit through digital means.

In fact, nearly 80 percent of consumers say that a search engine — whether accessed via desktop, mobile, or voice-activated assistant — is their top choice for looking up information about a local business.

So, local SMBs that can capture shoppers’ digital attention stand to benefit from a significant foot-traffic boost this holiday season. But how?

Practice Location Management: The first step in helping customers to find (and then visit) a local business is to make sure that the name, address, and phone number data is listed correctly — on a proprietary website and across all platforms where the business is listed.

If a business’ details are incorrect or inconsistent, it’s likely that the business either won’t rank highly for a specific location search, or that the customer could become confused — and the business loses out on a sale. And in 2017, businesses also need to think about the growing volume of voice-based searches — and how to optimize their underlaying data layer for consumption by voice-first devices.

Claim Listings Pages: For similar reasons to the above, its crucial that businesses claim and correct all listings pages, from Google My Business to Yelp and Trip Advisor.

In addition to making sure the information there is correct, having those citations and local links can help boost search rankings — putting the business in a better position on SERPs and increasing the potential that the businesses might be recommended by intelligent assistants when someone makes a voice search for “local candle shop,” for example.

As Vistaprint’s Scott Bowen put it last year, “if businesses aren’t listed [accurately] in a wide variety of locations online, they risk going unnoticed by fast-moving and mobile-first consumers, which ultimately has a major impact on the bottom line. Businesses, and small businesses especially, now operate in an environment where being the first to reach a potential consumer makes a huge difference when it comes to where that customer ultimately chooses to spend his or her money.”

Community Building Matters

By now, most SMBs probably do have an idea of how important these review platforms and local ads are to their business. But one takeaway from Vistaprint’s report may come as a surprise: Commitment to the local community (52 percent) and personal service (42 percent) rated as the top drivers for shopping at a small business — not price or convenience.

“Standing for something” or “improving the community” are business values that appear to resonate strongly with members of Gen-Z — and it appears that attitude may be widespread when it comes to “shopping small.” As such, in the lead up to the crucial holiday season, it appears that local businesses would do well to promote not just deals or flash sales but how they contribute to the town and community — as well as continuing to focus on the personal service and “hometown feel” that have always made local stores appealing.

“Small businesses represent the backbone of our economy,” said Vistaprint CEO Trynka Shineman, “and the value these businesses provide — personal service, unique products, strengthening the fabric of local communities — drive consumers in increasing numbers to support them.”

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.