Small Business Saturday: How shopping with purpose benefits consumers, businesses and communities

(BPT) - Small actions can have a big impact, which is why many people are choosing to support small businesses for their holiday needs this year. Many of these businesses are taking steps to make a difference and help their community, making shopping small beneficial for everyone.

In 2021, 51 million shoppers participated in Small Business Saturday, according to the National Retail Federation. This annual holiday in the U.S. celebrates small businesses and local entrepreneurs by encouraging shoppers to buy from them. This year, Small Business Saturday falls on November 26, 2022.

This comes at a time when shopping habits and values are shifting. Today, consumers want brands to act with purpose and create positive change because 'doing good' positively shapes perceptions of the consumer and the business.

Purposeful work not only resonates with consumers, it speaks to small-business employees, supports retention, growth, collective team passion, community support and engagement. Purpose also empowers teams to buy-in to the company mission and strive to make a positive impact on society, the planet and individuals.

Here are some of the top reasons purpose-driven work is key for small to medium-sized business (SMB) success and why many consumers are choosing to shop small.

Increased Trust and Customer Loyalty

Purpose-driven consumers are now the largest segment of consumers, outranking those driven by value, brand or product, according to the 2022 IBM and National Retail Federation Report, 'Consumers want it all.' These consumers are highly valuable in the long term, as they are more likely to evangelize brands/products to their peers, spend more when shopping and engage with the brand overall. Furthermore, more than half, (52%) have recently introduced friends and family to a new brand or retailer so they are likely to serve the brands that align with their values as an informal brand ambassador for others.

According to the Benevity 2022 data and insights from more than 850 companies with 20 million employees, 84% of consumers and 85% of employees agree the more a business engages its consumers in charitable giving decisions, the more trust they have in that business. Consumers will also go out of their way to buy from brands they trust are sustainable - even if it comes at a higher price. According to Deloitte's 2022 Global Gen Z and Millennial Survey, 64% of global Gen Zs would pay more to purchase an environmentally sustainable product, versus 36% who would choose a cheaper product that is not as sustainable. In another recent study, "Meet the 2020 consumers driving change," 70% of global consumers said they would pay more for brands that are environmentally responsible.

Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

Similar to consumers, prospective employees want to join companies that align with their values and have a strong purpose. According to Lenovo's recent research, "Human-centered insights to fuel IT's vision," 75% of small-business employees seek more purpose-driven work that provides opportunities to positively impact society. On the flip side, lack of purpose can detract employees, especially younger generations, with nearly two in five (37% of Gen Zs and 36% of millennials) saying they have rejected a job and/or assignment based on their personal ethics, according to Deloitte.

Gen Zs and millennials who are satisfied with their employers' societal and environmental impact as well as their company's efforts to create a diverse and inclusive culture, are more likely to stay with their employer for more than five years, according to Deloitte. More than 70% of IT decision-makers at businesses of all sizes report that their employees are increasingly concerned with working on projects that have a positive impact on society, according to Lenovo's recent research. Fortunately, most businesses of all sizes (70% on average) believe their company has already conducted a greater number of projects that contribute to the good of the world

Leveraging Technology for Good

In the next chapter of workforce transformation, technology will be a driver of human-centered experiences. Purpose-driven teams can engage and inspire each other and consumers by being equipped with the right technology and tools to collaborate and innovate with purpose. Ultimately, smarter technology supports meaningful work and allows purpose-driven SMBs to be successful.

According to Lenovo research, 52% of all businesses are currently adopting more sustainable technologies and 46% are planning to, indicating there's a bright light at the end of the tunnel for consumers, employees and brands. What's more, 32% of businesses on average would like to focus on researching more sustainable technologies to use in the office; 32% would like to increase the office's energy efficiency; and an average of 35% would like to create new IT asset recycling and disposal programs.

Overall, it's clear many consumers agree it's important to spend in a thoughtful way that gives back and makes the world a better place. Consumers - especially the younger generations - expect more from brands and have for years. As we head into the holidays and the new year, it's important to make conscious choices and support your local community. With ESG and purpose being table stakes, the focus for SMB owners must shift from pure profit to values-based and purpose-driven products, devices and initiatives.

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