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Today is Cyber Monday a time where big box brands and companies are clamoring for your online attention to take advantage of “blow out” “block buster” sales and their deepest discounts of the season. Cyber Monday is the online equivalent of what we have culturally known as Black Friday.
The term was coined by Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation and Scott Silverman, and made its debut on November 28, 2005. In 2017, Cyber Monday online sales grew to a record of $6.59 billion, compared with $2.98 billion in 2015, and $2.65 billion in 2014. However, the average order value was $128, down slightly from 2014’s $160. Cyber Monday has become the online equivalent to Black Friday and offers a way for smaller retail websites to compete with larger chains. Since its inception, it has become an international marketing term used by online retailers across the world.
Given the effectiveness of Facebook ads, Instagram stories, and email advertising it is easier than ever to get sucked into the rhetoric of buying things you don’t need at the lowest possible price. Once you factor in the convenience of opening your laptop or smart phone any time you want, the temptation to shop until you drop increase exponentially. However in recent years, there has been an equally as potent and viral movement to shop local. The Saturday after Black Friday has been coined Small Business Saturday and there has been a push for communities and entrepreneurs to us hashtag #shoplocal on this day and throughout the year as a way to promote spending your hard earned dollar at your nearest small local business.
Did you know that 48% of every purchase at a local independent business is recirculated locally compared to 14% of purchases at chain stores? Local business owners often have incentive to support other local businesses, patronizing local establishments for both business and personal reasons. Chain businesses, on the other hand, tend to get their supplies from corporate, as well as having store managers and employees that aren’t as personally invested in buying local. When you personally know the people behind the business where you’re buying local products and services, you enjoy a connection you would not otherwise have. Along with the rest of the community, you celebrate when a favorite local business succeeds and you mourn when it’s forced to shut its doors. This personal investment isn’t quite as present when a chain business closes, aside from feeling disappointment that you have fewer businesses within convenient driving distance.
In this mini episode of my podcast I talk about the importance of supporting local businesses and the interconnectedness of sustainability, justice, and shopping local. When making a new purchase always ask yourself how can I support a local business with my purchase?
(he/his/him) Calvin Eaton is a community educator, digital content creator, and social entrepreneur, whose area of expertise includes antiracism, inclusion, equity, curriculum writing, and higher education. In 2016 Mr. Eaton founded 540WMain, Inc.a grassroots non-profit community education and event space (www.540westmain.org) with a commitment to enrich the Susan B. Anthony Preservation district as well as connect greater Rochester to the neighborhood through antiracism, arts & culture, and wellness education.