BBB advice for shopping small or digital
Black Friday is not everyone’s cup of tea. The crowds, the frantic pace and the early shopping hours (for those wanting the doorbuster deals) may not be your idea of holiday weekend fun. Fortunately there are other shopping options to be thankful for. The Better Business Bureau has advice and tips for two of those: Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
Small Business Saturday is an event now in its eighth year, started by American Express as a way of supporting small, local retailers and restaurants. The day has racked up an estimated $85 billion in sales over those years. Look for special deals at these businesses to save you money as you help save “mom and pop” operations locally. A few reasons to shop small:
Local job creation and local spending. Small businesses provide 55 percent of all jobs. When those job holders spend their money you are helping the local economy. 48 percent of purchases at local businesses goes back into the community. That means more local taxes to support services, schools, libraries and roads.
Small businesses help tie communities together. They sponsor local events and local fundraisers that benefit area residents.
AASupporting one local business helps other local businesses. They hire services from other small businesses. They also may sell locally produced merchandise, often unique items not produced overseas, giving an added boost to the local economy.
They can provide personalized service of a type no big box store can. Individualized attention means more customer satisfaction. They know the area and are savvy about local trends. And it doesn’t take them long to know you and guide you toward items that fit your taste.
Small businesses are less “cookie-cutter.” They add flair and personality to a community in a way the big box stores cannot.
AAAGO CYBER ON MONDAY
For those looking for the convenience of online shopping, Cyber Monday has much to offer. Begun in 2005, at a time when consumers would wait until returning to work on Monday where they had access to more powerful work computers, it has exploded to $6.59 billion is sales last year. Here’s how to maximize your Cyber Monday shopping experience:
Do a bit of planning. Put together a shopping list early. Then you have the time to research product prices and reviews.
Use the list to stay focused and resist getting off track when spotting advertised
Aitems you may not really need.
Use Cyber Monday websites that serve as a clearinghouse of multiple retailers’ deals. Some do comparison-shopping and you can set up alerts to tell you when a particular item is reduced. Look for promotional codes and deals at the individual store sites as well. Don’t overlook their social media sites.
Brick-and-mortar stores, especially if their Black Friday sales were disappointing, may suddenly decide to match or beat online specials.
Mobile apps can make it easier to do quick comparisons.
Watch the timing on specials. They may have a narrow window of availability and limited supply. Early morning shoppers reported the steepest discounts last year.
Watch out for hidden costs. Look for high shipping cost or taxes they may affect the amount you really spend.
Check out those online sites at bbb.org for reviews and other shoppers’ experiences.
Spur-of-the-moment shopping can add to your costs. Take a little time beforehand and your postBlack Friday shopping experience can be much more rewarding.
AAAAAAIf you have more questions, contact the BBB at 800-856-2417, or at bbb.org.