I was perusing through the Wall Street Journal’s small business page on Facebook earlier today, and I came across an article about shopping at small/local e-businesses for the holidays. The title of the article was Why You Should Shop at Small Businesses Online. The main points of the article relate to why shopping at e-boutiques is a win-win, and the authors points are:
- Avoid crowded malls, especially during peak sale days
- Avoid sweaty, lipstick-stained clothes
- Avoid being an unintentional twin (encourages individuality and self-expression)
- More opportunities for interaction with your UPS guy/gal
- Friendly and responsive customer service
- More time to spend with friends and family
Certainly, there are a number of benefits to shopping online, especially during the holiday season. However, in defense of brick-and-mortar retailers everywhere, I have to give a plug to shopping at the stores.
- Christmas Decorations/Music: Maybe I’m just the sentimental type, but I love going out to do my Christmas shopping and seeing all the decorations and hearing my favorite Christmas songs playing in the stores. Sure, I could just push play on my iTunes library and listen to those songs while I sit at home and do my shopping, but there’s just something about being out in the cold weather, and the hustle and bustle of the holidays that I really love.
- Saying “Merry Christmas”/”Happy Holidays”: Personally, I love being out at the local stores, or even some of the big box retailers, and taking the opportunity to say “Merry Christmas” to the check-out clerk, staff, or store owner. Going out to the stores provides an opportunity that I otherwise miss during the holidays to spread some Christmas cheer. Sure, things can be stressful between searching for a parking spot, braving the crowds, and searching for that specific gift that you know your loved one really wants, but isn’t it great to brighten up someone’s stressful day with a simple “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”?
- Exercise: So maybe there are better ways to accomplish this, but I think getting out to walk around the malls or the streets of Old Town (our downtown here in Fort Collins) is a great way to burn off some of those holiday calories. My house is usually filled with delicious Christmas cookies and other treats, and with work schedules and other demands it’s hard to make it to the gym. I guess, I love to take the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone and get some Christmas shopping done as well as get out into the fresh air and go for a walk for an hour or so. The last thing I need during the holidays is one more excuse to stay home, sitting around eating cookies.
- Window Shopping: I know, I know…you can “window” shop online too, but to me it’s never quite like seeing the item up, close, and personal. Whether I’m looking at clothes, books, pens or anything else, I really want to see it and feel it before I put my money down. I also enjoy just looking at things that I may want to ask for. I realize that not everyone may have this problem, but there aren’t a lot of things I really want (at least not for a reasonable price) so when my siblings ask me about what they could get me for Christmas, I always have to respond with, “Let me think about it and I’ll let you know.” Going out to do my shopping for everyone else allows me the opportunity to find some inexpensive things that I could put on my Christmas list so my siblings don’t have to settle for getting me another gift card.
There are definitely pros and cons to any method of shopping that we could utilize. I think the most important thing is to do whatever works best for your lifestyle, and helps reduce your holiday stress. While I love going out to do my Christmas shopping, I do purchase some items online as well. The number one take-away I got from the article (link posted below) is to support local and/or small businesses no matter how you decide to shop. There are huge benefits to supporting your local businesses such as tax revenue for your town or state, it helps stimulate the local economy, encourages job growth, and many more. As you begin preparations for your holiday plans, please keep us small-business, local folks in mind. Come on by and wish us a “Merry Christmas” or send us a holiday message in via our website if you decide to shop online. Thanks for your support, and have a happy holiday season!