July means that summer is in full swing, and while that translates to school being out, the weather being warm and (mostly) welcoming, and folks going on vacation, it also means that shopping habits change with the season. With Independent Retailer’s Month being in July, this bodes well for small businesses—especially mom-and-pop shop owners.
Perhaps the most classic of all small business types, the mom-and-pop shop is typically a family-owned storefront with a modest number of employees. Mom-and-pop shops can take shape in any number of brick-and-mortar store types, from the convenience store on the corner, to the vintage goods shop spanning a block, even to the hole-in-the wall restaurant that only serves family recipes. Niche boutiques, clothing stores, repair shops, beauty stores, and more can also fall into the category of the mom-and-pop shop, but they most often only operate a single location and are not franchised.
This summer, mom-and-pop store owners can take advantage of the fact that warm weather gets people out of the house to shop. According to a recent study, consumers claim to spend more money shopping in the summer (28%) than they do in the winter holiday season (26%). Additionally, summer gets families exploring their local neighborhoods more frequently and people often spend extra money on purchases for their summer activities or vacation plans. To attract shoppers this season, mom-and-pop shops can host special in-store-only events, exclusive summer discount specials, and improve the seasonal customer experience (offering cold water to shoppers, for example). Taking special care of consumers over the season will help mom-and-pop shop owners maintain their value in their local communities.
Not only do mom-and-pop shops bump up their local economies (keeping money within the community and creating jobs for locals), they also can provide uniquely personal experiences for shoppers in a way that mainstream or online-only retailers can’t replicate. Even in the face of retail’s reinvention and increased competition from eCommerce stores, mom-and-pop storefronts aren’t down for the count, at least partially owing to the fact that 85% of shoppers still desire an in-store shopping experience over online shopping.
For an even more competitive edge this season, small mom-and-pop shop owners in San Diego can level up by taking their goods and services online. Creating a small business website to complement in-store offerings can add value for store owners by widening brand reach and catering to consumers that want to shop after-hours. Leveraging technology in-store can also bring the traditional family-owned store up-to-speed with modern times and shoppers’ preferences for convenience. For instance, optimizing a checkout lane with self-checkout technology can streamline the buying process and make it easier for customers to flow through the store. Similarly, creating a mobile app with exclusive perks (if used in-store) or rewarding social media check-ins can increase shopping appeal for technology-savvy customers. In all, a creative approach can set the typical mom-and-pop shop apart from competitors while keeping customers engaged.
Mom-and-pop stores are key to adding character and contributing to what makes a city or town special. Owners of mom-and-pop shops, however, must carefully use strategies to help their businesses continue to stand out as the face of retail continues to evolve. Get the most out of summer shopping trends and Independent Retailer’s Month this July by reading this infographic from Fundera for more actionable tips to help your San Diego mom and pop shop succeed against competitors.