Choose wisely where you shop this holiday season. ATTRIBUTION: Flickr; Thorsten Hartmann

Choose wisely where you shop this holiday season. ATTRIBUTION: Flickr; Thorsten Hartmann

When it comes to shopping, national chains, and mega-stores don’t always offer the best deals and service. This holiday season, shoppers have the opportunity to celebrate and support small businesses and all that they do for their communities. Understanding the advantages of shopping with small businesses could attract more customers to work with local merchants. Here’s a look at how small businesses are doing it better.

1. Greater Diversity

Big retailers generally carry a large selection of competing goods and services to appeal to customer masses. Although a small business may carry a smaller selection of goods and services, the diversity of these products is often better. Small businesses often offer goods and services that just can’t be found in big box stores, such as customizable products and goods in a wider variety of colors and sizes.

2. Better Service

Smaller businesses are often run by one or a handful of people. As you’ll most likely be waited on by the owner, a member of the owner’s family, or someone who reports directly to the owner, you will often be met with better customer service in a smaller shop. Small businesses are better able to build personal relationships with their suppliers, employees and customers. This person-to-person interaction is highly important.

3. Support Local Jobs

When you purchase goods or services from a small business in your community, you are helping to pay the salary of a family member, friend or neighbor. Most of the money that is spent at local small businesses often stays in the local area. This can help provide a major boost to other local businesses, families and workers in the vicinity. In addition to the local economy, small businesses also help the national economy grow.

4. Less Worry

With more and more businesses being hacked, many shoppers now worry about their personal information and finances going into disarray due to these cybercriminals; however, most hackers target big businesses, not small businesses. Shoppers can get the peace of mind that their personal information is in good hands when they shop at local small businesses.

5. Cheaper Prices

Most small businesses are able to offer customers cheaper prices on goods and services without sacrificing quality. Due to their smaller operation, small businesses generally have lower overhead costs. Not only do businesses have less employees to pay, the smaller premises also means low lighting and heating costs and limited rent. These lowered costs results in lower prices for consumers.

6. Pay It Forward

According to the National Federation of Independent Business, approximately 91 percent of small business owners contributed last year to their communities via direct cash donations, in-kind contributions, and/or volunteering. When you shop with small businesses, you are essentially giving back to your community. You could help small businesses “pay it forward” to your community as a whole by purchasing goods or services from smaller businesses in your area.