6 Ways To Support Small and Shop Local Online
December 16, 2020
We’ve heard it time and time again – things look a little different this year. Graduation, birthdays, work, school, and now the holidays. As we continue to adjust to the “new normal” we might find ourselves questioning most everything we do. Throughout this giant storm we call “2020,” there have been a few tiny rainbows that have opened our eyes to work towards a better future.
Hashtags such as #shopsmall #supportlocal #smallbusiness have been trending as of late. Our nation relies on small businesses and supporting them is critical to the well-being of entrepreneurs, communities, and the economy. The dire importance of supporting our community stores, restaurants, salons, etc., is top of mind. We’ve all seen the headlines, read the statistics, and watched as each day another small local business announces that they will be closing their doors.
Small businesses typically don’t have the online presence as big-name companies do, nor do they have large budgets for marketing and advertising. This could mean there are many local shops in your community that you’ve never even heard of. So, what can you do? How do you go about giving these small businesses your support from the comfort and safety of your own home?
Here are 6 ways you can support local businesses during a pandemic holiday season
1. Try New Businesses
You may already have your go-to spots, but trying somewhere new might help you discover a new favorite, plus it helps spread the wealth! A simple way to find new businesses around you is, dun, dun, dun…Google! Type in what you’re looking for and add “ in my area” after (ex. boutiques in my area). It might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by what you can find. Another great resource is your city’s visitor website or the Chamber of Commerce. These sites are packed full of great information on where to shop, eat, drink, and explore. Of course we can’t forget TapOnIt! At TapOnIt we pride ourselves on giving people new places to explore in their community every week – no app needed!
Once you’ve discovered new places to support, it’s time to shop! If the business offers online shopping on their website it’s as easy as “place in cart”, but what if they don’t?
2. Shop on Social Media
Try visiting a businesses’ Facebook or Instagram page to shop! Facebook Shops are located right on a business’ Facebook page or Instagram profile. From there, you can browse their items, save products you’re interested in, and place an order!
3. Call or Message Them
Small businesses want need your business! They are likely to go above and beyond to secure your purchase. Give them a call or send them a message if you happen across an item you’d like to purchase. Ask them if you’re able to pay by credit card over the phone, or if they accept Venmo, PayPal, or CashApp. Then see if they offer delivery or curbside pick up.
4. Get Gift Cards
Gift cards make great… gifts! And this year they truly are the gift that keeps on giving. Buying gift cards gives small businesses a cash infusion now to help make it through hard times. If gift cards aren’t available to purchase online, call them to ask if they could mail them to you.
*Do you know of or own a business that does not yet offer eGift Cards? Check out TapOnIt’s easy and affordable eGift Card Platform!
5. Support Locally Owned Restaurants and Bars
If you’re able, try to get one or more of your weekly meals from a local restaurant, bonus points if it’s not a chain. Try ordering directly through the business instead of using third parties (like Ubereats, Grubhub, or Doordash), so that all of the money from your order goes directly to the business. Plus, who said eating at home had to be boring? A lot of bars and restaurants have gotten creative, and are offering take-home drink kits, food packages, growlers of your favorite beers, you name it (and if they don’t offer it, they would probably try it)!
6. If you do shop Amazon…
Look at the seller of the product you’re buying, and consider buying it directly from their website instead. Shoppers can also shop local via the Support Small page, which highlights small businesses, and allows users to search for products they sell.
BONUS. Free ways to help
1. Leave Online Reviews
Online reviews are a great way to spread the word about your favorite small businesses. Leave reviews on Facebook, Google, Yelp, or any site you come across. The more positive reviews that a business has, the more likely people are to discover them! 5-star reviews are a great way to show your appreciation to small businesses for providing such a great service.
2. Support them on Social Media
Follows, comments, likes, and shares help businesses get more exposure on social media. The algorithms on social media sites control the visibility on posts and pages, so more interactions = more eyes seeing it. When you’re scrolling, be sure to engage with posts from your favorite businesses to help the ‘bot’ behind social media tell more people about that profile.
3. Spread the word
Word-of-mouth is the bread and butter of many small businesses. It is one of the most effective marketing strategies out there because people are more likely to trust the opinion of someone that they know rather than a stranger. Tell your friends and family about your favorite small stores and restaurants. Better yet, post about them on social media to give them an even bigger shout out and make sure to share your TapOnIt offers via Facebook, Messenger, Twitter and text!
4. Instagram (again!)
Instagram has a new “Support Small Business” sticker for Instagram Stories that people can use to easily show their love for businesses. They can mention businesses directly in the sticker to give their followers a preview of the account. When people use the sticker, their story will be added to a shared story, so more people can see it. The Support Small Business sticker can help businesses reach new customers, and stay connected to the people they serve.
If you’re in a position to support a small business, please do what you can to help the people who are the backbone of our economy. We wish small business owners and employees the best during these difficult times. If you have any other ways to support small businesses, leave a comment below.