This is a shoutout to all my retail peeps out there in Chamberland: shopping season is upon us! Can you believe it’s almost time for the Big Day? I’m curious to know what the busiest Christmas shopping day is for small businesses as we near the grand event. Is it Black Friday? Cyber Monday? How does small business see returns on holiday shopping? Inquiring minds want to know.

Maybe you aren’t seeing the shoppers you would like to see browsing your goods on the shelves. Perhaps you would welcome the occasional scuffle with a shoplifter as the crowd in your store cheers for your bravery in thwarting the villain. I don’t know because I’m not you. But one thing I do know is that small businesses rarely turn away business. How do you attract local shoppers, particularly in rural areas?

How’s your website look? Like a refugee from the early nineties? To draw customers in the digital age, you gotta have a good we presence. Target customers who are already loyal to your brand or service and encourage them to spread the word. And hey, a little incentive never hurt #youknowhatimsayin? Empower your brand ambassadors with the tools they need to help target like-minded shoppers and draw them to your site, and therefore, into your store or virtual realm. I don’t know about you, but I’m twice as likely to shop locally if a friend or family member says, “Hey, you’re paying too much for that wildebeest grooming kit. The shop on Main sells them cheaper and they’re higher quality.” CHA-CHING. SOLD: one wildebeest grooming kit.

Oh Facebook Live, how I love you so. If only my dratted cellular phone service was much better and stream-ier. It’s such a great tool to reach customers; live demos and live testimonials receive far more views than posts, even with pictures, and posts without pictures? Fuggadaboudit.

People. They are such super social critters, aren’t they? They love interaction, particularly with their brands of choice. You should try to develop some interactive campaigns for your holiday season. One company, not naming any names but it rhymes with Stacie’s, sent greetings to customers during the Christmas party season that was more sincere than, “Buy our clothes.” They began with well wishes for the holiday season, advised to play safe (my words), and offered some suggestions for nice, affordable holiday party ensembles. They then included a coupon (good online or in store) at the end. Much nicer, in my opinion.

At the end of the day, after you’ve revamped your website, offered brand loyalty incentives to your peeps, engaged in social media, and created the perfect interactive-digital-marketing-with-sincerity plan, it all comes down to you. You know the real reason why I’m going to buy my wildebeest food at a small mom and pop shop instead of a corporation? Because of the customer service. When I go to Mom and Pop’s Feed Shop, Mom gives me hot cocoa and asks about my kids. Pop talks about how wildebeest wrangling was done back in the day.

Sure, I have to plan my trips around the visit, but you know what? I really don’t mind.