Where will consumers be spending their money this holiday shopping season? That is indeed the looming question during this uncertain year. New research from Intuit suggests small and local businesses will be the big winners in 2021, revealing that 93 percent of U.S. shoppers say supporting small businesses this upcoming holiday season is more important than ever because of the pandemic. Furthermore, nearly half of consumers (48 percent) are more likely to try new businesses than they were pre-pandemic, presenting a large opportunity for retail-based small businesses looking to maximize their holiday sales.
The survey of 2,000 U.S. adults underscores the fundamental shift in consumer shopping behavior as a result of the pandemic—shedding light on both the opportunities and challenges ahead for small business owners, particularly with the holiday shopping season approaching.
Despite consumers’ overwhelming support of shopping small, small business owners need to remove barriers that prevent shoppers from actually making a purchase. Having an online presence that not only aids in the discovery of the business but also drives sales is more critical than ever. Nearly half (48 percent) of the consumers surveyed stopped shopping at a store they visited before the pandemic because the business didn’t have an online store. Additionally, 53 percent have considered using a business, but changed their minds because the business did not have a website. Other key findings of the research include:
Consumers value convenience
Nearly half (44 percent) of consumers enjoy online shopping because they don’t need to leave the house, and around a third of consumers like online shopping for the ease of finding products (33 percent), speed of researching and comparing products (32 percent), and as a result, finding the most affordable option (31 percent).
Technical and shipping issues frustrate consumers
Eighty-three percent of online shoppers have experienced technical issues at least once or twice while shopping or browsing on small businesses’ websites, posing a threat to sales conversion. Furthermore, shipping is the biggest challenge for about 29 percent of consumers who have shopped with small businesses online, particularly high shipping costs (22 percent).
Consumers want the best of both worlds
For 56 percent of consumers, their shopping journey often involves both online and in-person channels, known as “omnichannel shopping.” This means a majority of consumers are either looking at products in-store and then purchasing online, or finding products online and then buying them in store.
“Our research shows that consumers want to support small businesses, but they often aren’t able to provide consumers with the online shopping experience they’ve come to expect, missing out on potential sales,” said Shilpa Reddy, vice president of QuickBooks Commerce at Intuit, in a news release. “We introduced QuickBooks Commerce to help small businesses break the barrier of selling online, while being able to expand to other channels, so that they can adapt and thrive to the omnichannel shopping experiences consumers demand.”
This holiday season, Intuit is making it easier for consumers to shop small through a curated small business guide to help shoppers find creative, bespoke holiday gifts. The QuickBooks Small Business Holiday Shopping Guide allows shoppers to find and support small businesses from around the country. The range of QuickBooks customers and products spotlighted in the guide showcases the innovations and ingenuity of American entrepreneurs. The guide features a range of inspiring entrepreneurs who offer unique gifts.
- Hoop Mobb– hoop earrings and related accessories
- Soft & Spun– fun and unique clothing
- Be A Good Person– clothing and accessories to drive positivity
- Above the Tie– grooming accessories and products with a vintage feel
- Olamina Botanicals– all natural apothecary
Food and Beverage:
- CocoTutti– handmade, artisanal sweets and chocolates
- Barred Wood– environmentally sustainable maple syrup
- Corner 103– limited-product, award-winning wine
- Embrew Tea– naturally sweetened loose leaf grade teas
- Girl Meets Dirt– heritage preserves for sweet and savory pairings
Work From Home:
- Effie’s Paper: Stationery & Whatnot– cool and on-trend accessories and stationery for all ages
- Speks– stress relief desk toys
- Grace+Love Candle Co.– all-natural candles
- Golde– superfood essentials
- Realm Concept Market– clean beauty products
Kids and Pets:
- The Bean People– well-designed bath time products for kids of all ages
- Einstein Pets– natural organic oven baked dog biscuits
- Bows Arts– children’s hair accessories
- Cache– premium tailgate products and accessories
- Mutt’s Sauce– hot sauce and spices
- Trash Amps– bluetooth speakers using repurposed materials
- Brew and Feed– spices and seasoning sets
Small business resources to support an omni-shopping experience
Beyond the QuickBooks platform’s products and services designed to help small businesses grow and thrive, there are a range of online resources from the QuickBooks Resource Center to help small businesses prepare for the holiday shopping season: