New Jersey merchants are readying themselves for the 10th Anniversary of Small Business Saturday on November 30, a day that could translate to big holiday sales for state small retailers.
Leading the charge for New Jersey small business owners is U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) New Jersey District Al Titone whose agency has been a co-sponsor of the program for the last nine years. “Small Business Saturday® is an opportunity for all of us to get behind neighborhood businesses by supporting them. When someone spends $100 at a local small business retailer, $67 is recirculated in our local economy,” said Titone
Started by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday®, which is sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, continues to provide small business owners across the country with a big economic boost during the holiday shopping season. Last year, 104 million consumers went out to shop small and spent a total of $17.8 billion in local shops and restaurants across America.
And according to Titone, this year promises to be even better. “Based on a recent survey from the National Federation of Retailers consumers will spend 3.8 to 4.2 percent more than last year during the holiday shopping season with this year’s total holiday spending projected to hit $730 billion,” said Titone. “Deloitte’s annual holiday economic forecast also projects total retail sales will increase 4.5 –5.0 percent during the 2019 holiday season, with the average household planning to spend nearly $1,500 this holiday season.”
“It is timely news for the 72,121 New Jersey small retailers who employ 159,000 workers, which accounts for 34 percent of retail employment throughout the state,” said Titone. “Of the 72,121 retailers in the state, there are 21,584 retailers with 1 to 499 employees; of those 19,888 retailers that employ between 1-19 employees and another 50,537 retailers who are sole proprietors with no employees.”
In addition to retailers, Titone also noted that there are 19,050 eating and drinking establishments in New Jersey. They employ 348,300 workers; make up 8 percent of employment in the state and account for $18.1 billion in sales. “Locally owned restaurants are also important to New Jersey’s economy, and they depend on local holiday shoppers to stop by for lunch or dinner after a full-day of shopping,” said Titone.
“There are many reasons why NJ has so many successful small businesses. It really comes down to creating the ultimate Customer Experience (CX) for their clientele,” added Titone. “Those who can provide speed, 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 them coming back.”
“According to StoreHub.com, it’s the data driven merchants who combine technology with the human touch that will have the most success,” said SBA Regional Administrator Steve Bulger, who oversees the federal agency programs and services for New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “For many retailers there has to be a balance of the old mixed in with the new.
“A big allure for many customers is walking down Main Street and seeing an inviting window display. However, for some shoppers it is not enough,” said Bulger. “The big trend for retailers is omnichannel retailing, a combination of brick and mortar, online sales, digital apps that provide customers with reward points, email marketing and social media. Today’s retailer has to have the ability to reach its customers through multiple integrated touchpoints in order to succeed. Small businesses who don’t take the necessary steps to compete by meeting the needs and demands of their customers will simply get left behind.”
“A great example of omnichannel retailing is a small business that takes advantage of its brick and mortar structure and on Small Business Saturday® and then has the ability to pivot and take advantage of online sales on Cyber Monday,” added Bulger. “With Deloitte’s annual holiday economic forecast predicting a 14 to 18 percent increase in E-commerce sales, why wouldn’t a small business owner look to get a piece of that market, as well?”
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