The time between November 1st and December 31st is when consumers spend the majority of their retail dollars. As more shoppers buy online and at big box stores, independent businesses are doing what they can to promote keeping holiday dollars in the community. Shift Your Shopping, launched this November 1, is a coalition of over 38,000 locally owned, independent retailers across the United States and Canada dedicated to encouraging the purchase of holiday gifts from independent businesses, flea markets, and mom and pop stores. “We’re asking community residents to shift your purchases of food, cards, gifts, flowers and other holiday purchases to where it matters most, from your friends and neighbors at locally-owned businesses,” said Joe Grafton, director of Somerville Local First in Massachusetts. “And while you’re at it, see some familiar faces and enjoy the experience.”
Local Campaigns to Buy in the Community
According to the National Retail Federation, American shoppers spend an average of $700 on holiday purchases during the last two months of the year, so it is the best time for independent retailers to promote buying locally. Some prominent examples of local campaigns are Plaid Friday, the independent alternative to Black Friday; America Unchained! And Canada Unchained!, beginning November 19th, which teaches to stress where consumers spend their money; and Buy Local Week, which will run from November 25 to December 4, which reminds us to think first whether those items at big box stores are available to buy from local merchants.
It works, too. A study conducted last year by the Institute for Local Self Reliance revealed that independent retailers located in communities with long-term “buy local and independent” campaigns averaged a 5.6% increase in revenue over 2009, compared to only 2.1% for independent businesses in areas that do not have these campaigns.
Shift Your Shopping combines the efforts of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), and features a total of over 150 local business alliances. Shiftyourshopping.com has resources from numerous “buy local” organizations, including templates and information to help anyone spread the word in their communities.