Cyber Monday Can Include Supporting Local Businesses
By now we’ve all realized that going shopping looks a lot different during the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve made it through Black Friday – and now comes Cyber Monday – a time when millions of Americans intentionally shop from home (or work). Small businesses hope you don’t forget to “shop local” when you shop online, too.
Dan Guy owns Espresso Bay in downtown Traverse City. “We really started ramping up our online store sales.” He says they started building their website a year ago and launched in spring, and it came just in time. “It’s nice for people to be able to buy things on our website and just have them delivered right to our front door so they don’t have to go out and go shopping for them.”
Cyber Monday doesn’t have to mean a visit to Amazon – your computer can connect you to locally-owned stores as well. Byron Pettigrew with High Five Threads says, “The online presence has been huge for us. Without the online presence we wouldn’t be doing as well as what we are.” High Five is offering Cyber Monday deals as well.
Instead of browsing in the store for gifts, customers at Miners North Jewelers often start their search online. Jeff Guntzviller says, “The way were corresponding with our customers the most, was the text feature on our website. So when you go on our website you see the little thing that pops up. So every day we have so many different conversations started through there. (That’s) the way that conversations are started now, and the way that people find stuff on our website. It might not be bought on our website but it ends up being bought in the store. It has changed a lot.”
Online is also big business for High Five Threads in the Village at the Grand Traverse Commons. Pettigrew says foot traffic is way down. “Obviously with pandemic people are more comfortable shopping from home. So while we’ve seen a decline in our store traffic we’ve actually seen a pretty good increase on our website. People really appreciate the fact that they can still shop local and be able to do that from the comfort and safety of their own home.”
You can go online for everything from jewelry, t-shirts, and books. Even locally-made coffee is available online this year. And the business owners we talked with say this is shaping up to be one of their busiest online shopping seasons ever. Guy says, “It’s basically the part that’s keeping us going. We’re lucky that we’ve been able to pivot our business enough to offer online sales, and still being able to sell coffee in store too.” He adds that many people shop for others and ship coffee, while some are first-time customers that have never been inside the downtown store. “It’s pretty cool to think about the coffee that I’m roasting right here is making its way to California, Texas… all over the country.”
Guntzviller says their “web traffic is through the roof. I mean we always have a lot of web traffic but our traffic is so high right now. People are calling, texting or emailing us from an item they see on the website…. A lot of sales are starting there.”
And Guy says customers seem to be taking the “shop local” theme to heart this year, and the support is promising. “It’s really amazing how many people are supporting local businesses this year. We definitely feel the love. From people all over the country and Traverse City, too.”