Knowledge Center

‘Tis the Season to Shop Local!

saving-money | Read Time: 3 minutes

By Candice Caruso | Published: November 2021


As consumers throughout the Greater Philadelphia and Delaware region gear up for the holiday shopping extravaganza, experts are warning us about supply chain issues, rising prices, shipping delays and more obstacles to find the perfect gifts for our friends and family.

The solution? Do your holiday shopping on Main Street this year.

A recent WSFS Bank Money Trends survey found that six in 10 (61%) consumers in the region are eager to support small businesses, and nearly half (49%) feel it is more personal to buy gifts from local businesses.

That’s great news for our local small businesses! Looking for unique ways to check off your holiday shopping lists? Follow these tips to help you have a stress-free holiday shopping experience while also supporting your local community.

Look for Local Deals
Many small businesses adapted how they reach consumers during the pandemic, offering deals and coupons through social media, local chambers of commerce and business district newsletters, and through emailing their customers directly.

Check your local town’s Facebook or other social media group pages for holiday savings announcements, sign up for your favorite local stores’ email lists for exclusive deals, and see if your town is running any special programs, like town wide “cash” that can be used at participating local businesses, to help save money.

Consolidate Your Shopping Excursions
As rising gas prices put a squeeze on consumers’ regular and holiday budgets, more than half (51%) of regional shoppers plan to make fewer shopping trips or travel less in general, which presents a great opportunity for local businesses to increase sales this year and for you to spend those funds on gifts, holiday dining and more instead of at the pump.

Look for Unique Alternatives
Local businesses often feature unique gifts and experiences that big box retailers and online shopping sites simply can’t offer. Whether its locally roasted coffee or a hometown craft brewery that may have even partnered with the local coffee roaster for unique beverage offerings, or local arts and crafts businesses that sell handmade gifts and offer classes, small local businesses can help you and your loved ones discover fun gifts and experiences that you can enjoy the whole year.

Own a Local Business? Offer Customer Perks and Flexibility
If you are a local business owner yourself, consider partnering with your peers on Main Street to market products and services together and sell one another’s items that pair well together to provide an immersive shopping experience for your neighbors.

Other customer perks to consider include social media and email list coupons, deals and rewards, online shopping with home delivery or in-store pickup options, and frequent shopper programs that will have your customers coming back all year.

It’s also important to offer gift giving flexibility, as many holiday shoppers may prefer to buy gift cards, allowing friends and family to choose their own gifts. Make sure your business offers gift cards or certificates for in-store or online shopping for your products or services. Offer deals for shoppers wanting to buy multiple gift cards and give coupons for special deals in the new year that encourage customers to come back for additional purchases after the holiday gift giving season is over.

These strategies can help your gift card business not only create revenue now, but into 2022 as well when recipients are at your business or on your website spending their funds.

Speaking of flexibility, make it easy and convenient for customers to pay the way they want to. In addition to traditional payment options like cash and credit cards, sign up for peer-to-peer and other payment apps like Zelle®, Apple Pay or Venmo to accept payments at your business. Mobile and contactless payment adoption soared during the pandemic and is here to stay.

Whether you are a local consumer looking to support small businesses in your area or are a business owner yourself, shopping local is a win-win for everyone this holiday season.

Learn more about holiday budgeting tips and tricks that won’t break the bank.

About the Author – Candice Caruso
Candice Caruso is Senior Vice President, Director of Government Guaranteed Lending at WSFS Bank. She brings more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, including 12 years as a business funding expert, and has been featured on Bloomberg Radio, CNBC’s Closing Bell, The Wall Street Journal and Franchising World.


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