With the prominence of things like Small Business Saturday during the holiday shopping season and the slow food movement attracting customers to local restaurants that also source local ingredients, consumers have grown increasingly aware of the benefits of patronizing businesses in their community.
Now a recently released survey commissioned by Groupon, Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) and conducted by market research company OnePoll reveals that the global COVID-19 pandemic has heightened that awareness to a new high.
The survey, which was conducted over the first five days of May among 2,000 Americans, showed that 75% of respondents plan to increase their support of local businesses as quarantine lockdown measures are cautiously lifted.
The survey found that the pandemic compelled consumers to confront the tenuous position most U.S. businesses found themselves in as they shut down in the interest of public safety. Not only this, but consumers were also forced to grapple with the hazards and shortcomings of global commerce and supply chains as well as the sometimes lax health and safety measures put in place for workers in the employ of national and global corporations.
The survey also showed that this trend started during the pandemic, with 86% of respondents claiming they supported a locally-owned business during the quarantine.
One major reason behind this enthusiasm is likely how close to home the shutdowns were. More than half of the survey’s participants said they personally knew a business owner or employee affected by the shutdown.
Making The Community Your Business
Given the newfound enthusiasm in America for local business, Credibly would like to recommend a few tactics business owners should consider in order to both recapture lost revenue during the pandemic and reestablish their commitment to the communities they continue to serve and support through good times and bad.
Work With And Promote Businesses In Your Area
This is a simple step any business owner can take to increase their presence among local shoppers. Actively collaborating with business owners with related clientele, signage, and (most effectively) word-of-mouth will not only help spread consumer awareness of the local business ecosystem but will also foster a feeling of community.
Join Or Participate In The Local Chamber Of Commerce Or Business Advocacy Groups
Regardless of size, most towns or regions have some form of commerce organization that helps businesses coordinate with their community and one another. These organizations often have representatives that sponsor events, clubs and sports teams, which can especially help raise awareness of businesses that might not have a retail or physical presence in the community like wholesalers and service providers.
Organize Community (And Online) Events
Unfortunately, on-site events and clubs are a difficult proposition at the moment. However, it’s now more than ever that people are looking for an outlet to experience something beyond their front door. Organizing and sponsoring virtual recreational clubs, educational events, or even virtual conventions is a new approach to a classic tactic that can put your business at the top of mind in your community and beyond.
Talk With Your Employees And Learn What Your Business Can Do To Support The People They Know
As revealed by the survey, the pandemic has affected the majority of Americans in some way or other. There is a great need for a number of critical services throughout the community. While your business needs the support of the community, the local community likely needs your business’s support as well. As more businesses reopen and Americans get back to work, talk with your employees about the struggles they have faced over the past few months and consider any way your business can lend a hand.
For most businesses and people, the remainder of 2020 and onward could be a tough time. Credibly aims to offer support for businesses to keep their doors open and the communities they serve vibrant. Business owners play a critical role in that equation. With the right blend of ingenuity and compassion, small businesses of every stripe will hopefully continue to provide goods, services and vibrancy to the towns and cities that have helped make them what they are.
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