Independent retailers know just how big of an influence the COVID-19 pandemic has had on revenue. Many small businesses closed this year, while the rest are fighting hard to make sales and hold on until next year, when a vaccine will hopefully be available to the public and economic conditions improve. No one could have known back in March just how hard this year would be for retailers, but the bottom line is that bottom lines have shifted, and the huge Q4 boost will likely not be what it has always been.
Black Friday has meant more to big-box retailers than independent gift stores, and for good reason. Retailer of Orange Tree Imports, Carol Schroeder, wrote in 2010 that small businesses “are not likely to win in a game being played by Walmart, Best Buy and other deep discounters. These stores have the ability to bring in products that are either loss leaders or are produced so inexpensively that they can still make a profit. You can’t compete in this race to the bottom on price, so I suggest that you leave the frenzy on Friday morning to the big guys, and focus on what you do best.”
Schroeder highlights great customer service, a warm shopping environment and inventive product selection are what independent retailers can offer that the big guys can’t. And in 2020, a year that has essentially been a race to the bottom for so many, there is really even less incentive to try and play the discount game.
Instead, take part in Small Business Saturday, and do what you do best. Manage expectations for a boost in sales. It may come, depending on how badly consumers want to compensate for a rough year. And prepare your store with Small Business Saturday resources.