Christmas 2020 marked a unique turning point in the way that people shop. Studies released by American Express UK and Small Business Saturday revealed that 59% of consumers were planning to shop local for their seasonal fare. This trend is projected to only gain momentum in the months to come. 

The shop small trend is obviously good news for independent business owners, not just in the UK but also globally. Local shops stand to benefit from the boost in sales, but it also indicates a more profound underlying shift in consumer habits. 

The pandemic has necessitated that we work from home, a trend that is predicted to continue even once restrictions ease. As such there is less movement toward central hubs and commercial centres therefore many local high streets are experiencing a refreshing rejuvenation. It is predicted more consumers will shop closer to home and take more time to consider what types of business they want to frequent.

What Does the Shop Small Trend Mean for Your Digital Strategy?

The continued momentum behind the shop small movement is an indicator of a broader social shift – consumers are actively adopting a more conscientious approach to deciding where they want their money to go. 

Prices aren’t always the bottom line anymore. Today’s ethical consumers want to boost up businesses that share their values. 

As a whole, this creates an unprecedented opportunity for small to medium-sized businesses to take advantage of their digital marketing platforms to communicate what they stand for. People are looking for good reasons to shop locally. This creates a unique opportunity to use your digital marketing to demonstrate the ways that your small business is committed to building a more ethical and sustainable future. 

Here are some helpful tips on using your digital marketing strategy to put the shop small trend to work for you.

Be Proud to be Small

The human element of independent business operations is a strength, so infuse it into your marketing and messaging.

Take advantage of the shop small movement by crafting a digital strategy that will show your audience that smaller is mightier. Do this by using your values to tell the story of your business. Shift the attention away from products and prices and towards the more relatable human elements of your small business. 

For instance, take the opportunity to give your following a behind-the-scenes look at your day-to-day goings-on. Introduce the world to your passionate team, show everybody the personalised approach you take to doing business, and give them a glance into your daily operation.

Find Your Niche

Small businesses have the power to speak to their niche on a deeper, more personal level than the big guys, so why not play this card to your advantage?

Bidding on popular keywords can be a losing game for independent businesses since large organisations will always have the resources to boost their page to the top of the search results regardless. 

Instead, include highly-targeted niche long-tail keywords in your marketing plan. This way, you won’t have nearly as much competition to deal with when it comes to your search engine results page (SERP) ranking. Plus, you can rest assured you are speaking to those subsets of the market that are most likely to be highly motivated to support your business model.

Think Local

Ethical consumers know that when they support local businesses, they are also giving back to the communities they live in. Using location-specific keywords and other geo-targeting tools will ensure that local shoppers always know where to find you. 

Meanwhile, support this initiative by using a digital marketing strategy to speak to a local audience. After all, building a loyal following that will keep coming back is the backbone of any successful business, and there is often no need to look much farther than home to do so.

Set a Reasonable Budget

Take advantage of ROI measurement tools like Google Analytics to track your strategy’s success and understand the value of a click. Once you have this information, you can set a reasonable marketing budget aligned with the specific goals you want to accomplish through your digital strategy. 

You don’t need to pump endless resources that you don’t have into your digital marketing strategy. Instead, focus on the elements that are working for you and ditch anything that doesn’t. There is no need to shell out for the bells and whistles either. Try sticking to text ads rather than splurge on flashy display marketing to make your budget go further.

Encourage Engagement

Use your social media strategy and digital marketing approach to encourage engagement and build community. 

As a small business, you will likely already have a social media presence. However, consider expanding your approach to driving engagement with your followers. For example, you might want to consider how you can generate sales by using sponsored content to drive traffic to your website.

Fuel Your Growth Strategy

If you are an independent e-commerce business looking to scale your digital advertising and website sales, download our latest whitepaper From Search to Sale, which has practical tips to help you on your growth journey.

Written by Will, Account Executive.