Facing turbulent times, because of the COVID-19 virus, many New Jersey small business owners are hoping their communities will come out and support them by shopping small on the 11th Anniversary of Small Business Saturday.
“Now more than ever, Small Business Saturday is an opportunity for all of us to get behind our neighborhood businesses by shopping small and not only supporting them on Saturday, Nov. 28 but throughout the entire holiday season,” said U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) New Jersey District Director Al Titone. SBA has been a co-sponsor of the program for the last 10-years.
Started by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday, which is sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, has continued to provide small business owners across the country with a big economic boost during the holiday shopping season. Last year, 110 million consumers went out to shop small and spent a total of $20 billion in local shops and restaurants across America.
According to Titone, this year’s landscape will be different. “Based on a recent survey from the National Federation of Retailers 96% of retailers surveyed expect their online sales to increase. The survey also noted consumers plan to purchase between three and four gift cards, for an average spend of $163 per consumer with total spending on gift cards expected to reach $27.5 billion this year.
“Deloitte’s annual holiday economic forecast also noted that nearly 51% of holiday shoppers feel anxious about shopping in-store, while contactless shopping experiences are in demand. Seventy-three percent of those surveyed planned to have items delivered this year vs. 62% in 2019 and preference for curbside pickup more than doubled from last year,” said Titone. “Small retailers who are engaged in e-commerce, have COVID-19 safety protocols in place, a digital footprint, offer the virtual shopping experience through an Augmented Reality platform, and utilize the technology to message and capture sales through a consumer’s smartphone are in a position of strength.”
“Shopping local is neighbor helping neighbor, but it also is helping yourself” said Titone. “Over the years, studies have consistently shown that local home values are higher in areas with vibrant and effective downtowns than those without downtowns or downtowns that have diminished over time. The fact is the majority of small retailers, service businesses and restaurants are part of the fabric of downtowns located in the state’s 565 municipalities.”
“For the 72,940 New Jersey small retailers who employ 160,033 workers, which accounts for 34 percent of retail employment throughout the state, Small Business Saturday could be a much needed boost to carry them into 2021,” said SBA Regional Administrator Steve Bulger, who oversees the agency’s programs and services throughout New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Of the 72,940 retailers in the state, there are 21,485 retailers with 1 to 499 employees; of those firms, there are 19,793 retailers that employ between 1-19 employees, with another 51,455 retailers who are sole proprietors with no employees.
“Success for many New Jersey small businesses really comes down to creating the ultimate Customer Experience (CX) for their clientele,” said Bulger. “Those who can provide speed, price, product, convenience, consistency and friendliness usually win over their customers. Exceptional service and quality products and services make for a great shopping or dining experience that keeps those customers coming back.”
“Let’s not forget that New Jersey small business owners accounted for a combination of 278,000 Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Payroll Protection Program loans totaling $24.3 billion,” said Bulger. “It’s a constant reminder to us that many Garden State small business owners are still navigating the effects of the pandemic.”
“Despite the challenges that COVID-19 has presented to retailers and consumers alike, I believe their resiliency will make them that much stronger. With challenges come opportunity. During this time of uncertainty, we can get out in person, go online or virtually shop small. Thousands of small business retailers and restaurants throughout New Jersey are counting on our support this Small Business Saturday®.” he added.
To help small business owners prepare for Small Business Saturday® and the holiday season, the SBA also has a dedicated web page www.sba.gov/saturday that offers tips on how to increase business during the holiday shopping season. Remember to tell the SBA about your Small Business Saturday experience on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SBAgov, on Twitter @SBAgov or Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/SBAGov, by using the hashtag #ShopSmall.
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