What's Hot in Small Business – Chris Crum
|Chris Crum has been a featured writer with the WebProNews.com team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Chris writes for Small Business Resources about social media, search, and what’s new for small business. Hundreds of publications link to Chris’ articles including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, LA Times and the New York Times.|
Big Help for SMB's, 80 percent of Americans to Shop Local
Despite the rise of online shopping and retail giants like Amazon and Walmart, small and medium-sized businesses should expect good things this holiday season, as consumers are looking to shop small.
A recent study found that 8 in 10 (80%) of Americans are likely to shop local this holiday season. The study was conducted by Nielsen and commissioned by Yelp, which obviously has an interest in people using its app to locate great local shopping venues.
The study sought to find out where and when people are planning to spend money for the holidays as well as what draws them to local businesses. The findings indicate that about half of those who plan to shop local plan to spend over $100 at small businesses. 44% of them said they would start shopping before Thanksgiving.
We're not talking strictly about retailers. Six in ten local shoppers intend to buy experience-based gifts, such as restaurant gift cards, massages, or theater tickets. 66% said they're shopping locally to find a unique gift.
To be exact, 50% plan to purchase a gift certificate from a local restaurant. 25% plan to purchase theater, movie, or opera tickets. One in five plan to purchase a salon or spa gift certificate.
Additionally, six in ten plan to shop locally to feel good about supporting the local economy.
The data for the study was collected between October 9th and October 14th among 512 general population adults ages 18 and older. Age and gender quotas were set to be representative of U.S. online population aged 18 and older. Respondents were asked up to seventeen questions relating to gift shopping at local stores during the holiday season, though it's unclear what the exact questions were.
Yelp used the findings as a motivator for businesses to make sure they've got their Yelp presences in order, and truth be told, it's probably not a bad idea, regardless of how you feel about Yelp (a lot of businesses are quite critical of the service).
The fact remains that a lot of people use Yelp and similar online review services to find local businesses to visit. It's not just about reviews though. It's also about having the basics taken care of. You need to make it as easy as possible for consumers to find any relevant information they may be looking for, and these types of sites and apps are not things you want to overlook.
You may have all the necessary info on your website, but you have to assume people are going to find your online presence through searches or through apps like Yelp. They may never land on your site in the first place.
As far as Yelp goes, the company suggests claiming your free business page, updating your business info, adding photos, telling people about your business by adding content to its "From the business" section, and creating promotions.