Almost every day of 2020 has been like Cyber Monday for small business owners like Kelly Plair because most of their customers shop online.
“We’re online, thankfully, so we’re rocking,” said Plair, owner of the South Coast Baby Company in downtown Thibodaux. “We have at least 20 orders ready to pick up right now. We were lucky we just completed our website just before the pandemic hit. Everything was already online, so we didn’t have to mess around. We were ready to go.”
Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, originated in the early days of online shopping, when home computers were not as common as they are now, and internet shoppers used their office computers. at the first opportunity after Black Friday. According to the National Federation of Retail. the term Cyber Monday was first coined in 2005.
A record 189.6 million Americans bought from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday last year, which was up 14% from the previous year, the federation said. Online shopping on Monday after Thanksgiving amassed just $ 3.1 billion, according to Adobe Analytics.
Forbes recently reported about 36% of Americans have been shopping online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the coronavirus pandemic occurred in March, it forced small business owners to use the technology to reach customers like never before, said Dawn Starns, director of the Louisiana National Federation of Independent Businesses.
“What we’re seeing from our members is that they actually raised their online presence during quarantine,” Starns said. “What you’re seeing is that a lot more people are setting up an online marketplace through their websites, Facebook, Instagram or other social media to promote their websites. A lot of small businesses have struggled with that in the past because it takes a lot time. But during quarantine they actually kicked out their sales because they knew people were going to shop online. Small business owners are allowed to keep their doors open. ”
The pandemic revealed that customers have also quickly adapted to the new normalcy, said Louisiana State University professor of marketing Dan Rice.
“The core of any business is in the customers,” Rice said. “Mom and pop will find it hard to go directly against the big stores at some of the major points, especially those that are based on prices, as their price structure is usually higher and strictly in line than the big stores. A lot of people work in online marketing so where do you leave that to mom and pop? Well, for one, the day they may really want to focus on is Small Business Saturday, where the big boxes can’t compete, especially because, well, they are big, not small. That doesn’t mean everything is lost for Cyber Monday, but they have to make sure they have something that’s convincing that big stores can’t offer. ”
It takes more than a social media page for small businesses to attract customers, Rice said.
“Could the little mom and the pop use social media? Sure, but you have to need something more than having a Facebook page,” she said. “They should have an overall strategy that adds value to the customer and enough presence for people to find them. It’s also important to have a search engine optimized website and strategically use the internet to build your online connections.”
Ashlie Wiggins, owner of the Lagniappe Shoppe on Highway 700 St. Patrick in Thibodaux said he hopes to attract customers with a unique inventory that you can’t find in a typical super store.
“We just reopened on November 5th and are still finalizing the launch of our website, so I’m not ready to participate in Cyber Monday,” he said. “However, we are participating in Black Friday. What we need to do to differentiate ourselves from big stores is to offer craft and themed products. We love to support our local artisans and entrepreneurs. ”
Richard’s Supply at 235 S. Hollywood Road in Houma offers a combined Cyber Monday / Black Friday deal, where the restaurant supply store is open on Fridays and Mondays but also offers online specials throughout the week, the President Ryan Richard.
“We offer unique items of professional quality that can be used for domestic or professional purposes,” Richard said. “We also offer local assistance and personalized service to all of our customers. We are Louisiana’s largest kitchen store and offer high quality kitchen utensils, kitchen appliances, appliances, outdoor appliances and home appliances. This sets us apart from all the big ones. box stores “.
Plair said more than 80% of its sales come from online shoppers.
“It was a challenge but we kept growing,” he said. “I miss seeing everyone in person, but I’d rather they were safe.”
– You can contact personal writer Dan Copp at 448-7639 or at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @DanVCopp.