The #1 reason consumers shop at small businesses is the availability of promotions and discounts. Smart small businesses should combine value-oriented pricing with an expert staff and reliable after-the -sale support for results that add up to more than the sum of the parts. In this feature from Marketing Charts, the research indicates that while the pandemic brought about many negative consequences, it appears to have driven more US consumers in the direction of small businesses. 

In general, Americans tend to hold small businesses in high regard. And, while the pandemic has brought about many negative consequences, it appears to have driven more US consumers in the direction of small businesses, with a survey [pdf] by Sendinblue showing that some 4 in 10 (41%) have purchased from small businesses more than before the pandemic.

So, what inspires consumers to spend more money at a small business? The survey of approximately 1,000 US adults who had made a purchase online in the previous 12 months found that the biggest motivator is promotions or discounts, with close to three-quarters (73%) saying as such (top 3 responses).

Research from Bond Brand Loyalty found that about two-thirds of consumers say they adjust the amount they spend to get the most out of the points associated with loyalty programs. This more recent survey shows that for 6 in 10 (59% of) respondents, loyalty or rewards program represent one of their top 3 reasons for spending more at small businesses.

Fewer report that factors such as information and advice (37% selecting within top 3), inspiration on how to use products or services (31%), the business supports the same values as the consumer (25%) and entertaining (23%) or humorous (21%) content are key motivators for spending more.

The pandemic brought about a rise in online shopping, and small businesses appear to have benefited from this shift. While a plurality of consumers of surveyed say they maintained the same frequency of purchases online from small businesses as before the pandemic in categories such as apparel (43%), cosmetics and personal care (40%) and restaurants (35%), a fair share report making more frequent online purchases from these categories (37%, 29% and 30%, respectively). What’s more, other research shows that shopping through digital channels is one of the buying behaviors likely to stay once the pandemic is over.

It’s not just online shopping that saw an increase for small businesses during the pandemic. Some consumers increased their use of digital tools associated with small businesses as well. About one-third (32%) say they are opening update emails more frequently than before the pandemic, while others report upping the frequency in their use of SMS notifications (25%), app push notifications (24%), QR code scans (23%) and website push notifications (22%). Some 1 in 5 also report increasing the frequency of using live chat on small business websites.

The full report can be found here.

Bob Abbate Marketing has a track record of success marketing and growing small businesses. When you’re ready, we’re here to help.

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