Should Local Business Owners Add an Online Shopping Option?

For centuries, local business owners have relied on one way to bring in customers: word of mouth. The theory went like this: set up a store that sells what people want, then offer excellent customer service and attention toward customers. But times have changed, even more so than you might imagine.

Want to ring in the maximum amount of holiday sales this year? You might need to start thinking out of the box.

Here’s how to attract today’s holiday shoppers—and why your approach should be different this year.

What’s Different with this Year’s Holiday Shoppers?

Normally, this time of year local shops would be filled to the brim with shoppers looking for that next great gift. But this year, retail stores have two disadvantages. First, the National Retail Federation says that, on average, shoppers will spend about $50 less per person than they normally do. That adds up to less money spent on gifts for retailers everywhere.

Next, experts say this year shoppers are more likely to shop online because of COVID fears. That means there will be fewer people shopping in retail stores, something local business owners don’t need to hear. In many areas of the country, government regulations have forced retail businesses to shut down or operate on a limited scale and that has affected the bottom line of many shops.

Add to this the fact that shoppers are afraid to shop in person this year, and you’ve got a perfect storm. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to ensure that your sales are as good as they can be this year.

How to Get Holiday Business as a Retail Store

Just because you run a local business, that doesn’t mean you can’t attract holiday shoppers. Yes, it’s true that many of them plan to shop online this year, but by setting up an online store for your local shop, you will have a shot at getting their business.

For instance, imagine that you operate a local book store. Books are a popular Christmas gift, and in year’s past, your sales this time of year have been great. But because shoppers might be hesitant to come into your store this year, they may bypass it and instead shop at an online store.

Your countermove? Offer shoppers a way to purchase your products online. By setting up an online shopping portal on your website, you can keep your loyal customers and make them feel comfortable and cared for while shopping in your online store.

It’s a win-win for both your shop and its customers.

But Here Is the Catch

There is an old saying based on a popular movie: if you build it, they will come. While the saying evokes sentimental feelings in some, when it comes to building an online store, it’s just not true. Instead, if you want shoppers to make purchases in your online store, you have to tell them that it’s there.

And here’s the great news: by creating a free local business listing, you won’t have to spend a fortune on advertising. Online shoppers consistently go to local business directories to find the stores they want to shop in, and if your business—or your new online portal—isn’t there, shoppers will never know that you offer the option.

To set up your free local business listing, take the following steps:

  • Go to and type in your business name in the search bar.
  • Once you find your listing, click on it and claim it as the business owner.
  • Make sure all of the detail of your business such as the name, phone number, and address are correct. Then, add the new URL to your online shopping page.
  • Ask your customers to leave some positive reviews on the site so new customers will have the confidence they need to visit your store and buy from you.

Are You Doing All You Can to Increase Your Holiday Sales?

By taking the actions suggested above, you will open your local business to both new customers and old customers who don’t feel comfortable shopping in person this year. But don’t forget that you need to let the public know about your new online store by making sure your local business listing contains the information.

Luckily, it’s easy to do. Just go to now and enter the information so that all those holiday shoppers can find the information about your local (and online) stores!

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