Top 10 Tips & Tricks for Shopping Small
With the holidays right around the corner, small businesses are gearing up for their busiest time of the year. Handmade products are becoming more and more popular amongst gift-givers, but shopping with a small business can be a bit different than shopping from a large corporation. We have outlined some tips to help you get the most out of your online shopping experience any time of the year.
1. SUBSCRIBE TO THEIR E-MAIL LIST
Subscribing to their email list will keep you up-to-date on new products, launch times and general information. In addition, businesses often allow early access to products or special discounts to those on their email list. The few emails you’ll receive are worth it for the potential discounts or early bird access!
2. OPT FOR SHIPPING INSURANCE
When choosing a shipping option, it’s best to opt for shipping insurance to protect your handmade purchase from loss, theft or damage. Once the product leaves the hands of the small business owner, mail becomes the official property of the mail carrier. Small businesses are not able to accept the responsibility of refunding missing, stolen or damaged products (due to no fault of their own) without accepting a serious financial burden.
Here at Sloppy Chops Co. we offer optional shipping insurance at checkout, as well as order upgrades such as Signature Confirmation. We encourage all customers to take advantage of these offerings to protect your one-of-kind investment.
3. LEAVE A REVIEW
Leaving a review regarding your experience with a small business and their products is a quick and easy way to lend your support and share your experience. It allows others to know what you loved about the product (and can also earn you points via the loyalty program).
4. READ PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS
Don't skip the small details! Small businesses frequently offer handcrafted and customized products with unique order details for a one-of-a-kind fit. Every product has a detailed description of the product that includes what the product is made of, fit of the product, purpose of the product, its usage limitations, etc. We recommend familiarizing yourself with each product's description and asking any unanswered questions you may have prior to purchase to ensure the best possible product match with your needs.
5. REFER A FRIEND
Many small businesses offer a referral program that will benefit you as well as your friends and family. As a customer, you may be able to get a customized referral discount link from their website that you can provide to your family, friends and social media followers. Not only does this allow your friends and family to get a discount, but when they use the code, you may earn an in-turn discount as well!
6. REACH OUT TO THE SHOP
Don’t hesitate to reach out to the business to get your questions answered. For most businesses, email is the preferred form of communication, whereas direct messages on social media with pressing questions have the potential to get lost in the mix. If you have questions about a custom order, whether or not the product is right for you, what product would be best for you, sizing, and so on and so forth, shoot them an email! By reaching out, you can directly communicate with someone that has intimate knowledge of the products and can help you in making the right decision.
7. JOIN THE LOYALTY REWARDS PROGRAM
Most small businesses have some sort of loyalty program that you can sign up for via their website! There are many ways to earn points; typically for every purchase, you can earn points. That’s not the only way to earn though. Signing up for the rewards program, following the business on social media platforms, leaving a review and celebrating your birthday can all earn you points! As you earn and collect those points, they lead to rewards, typically in the form of discounts. It’s one of the simplest and most strategic way to earn discounts with your favorite business.
8. BE MINDFUL OF ORDER PROCESSING TIMES
Be prepared for longer wait times. These products are handcrafted and custom to each order. There is no huge stockpile and there are typically only 1-2 people working for a small business. Be patient. The wait is worth it. Check the website prior to ordering for turnaround time. Most businesses have this listed on their front page or within product descriptions, so you know exactly what to expect. If you can’t wait that long, Rush Order upgrades may be available for a fee to push you to the front of the line. With this in mind, especially with the holidays coming up, place your order as early as you can for best chances of receiving your package in time!
9. FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH SHOP POLICIES
Reading the policies that pertain to refunds, exchanges and shipping policies before placing your order is always a great idea. Small businesses that specialize in made-to-order, handmade products may not be as liberal as corporate giants. Being familiar with their policies can help avoid any confusion down the line and sets you up for exactly what to expect if you receive a product that may not fit or work the way you envisioned.
10. FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA
If you’re on social media, it’s wise to follow your favorite small business! It’s no surprise that social media allows businesses to showcase their handmade products, but there are so many more perks to it than that. When you follow a business on Instagram or Facebook, you can get a glimpse into how products are made, get to know the owner behind the business a bit better and see what others have to say about the products. It’s also important to note that flash sales and information on upcoming sales may be announced on these platforms. Liking, commenting and sharing posts on social media spreads the word about great small businesses