Kate Cline is editor-in-chief of WQP. Cline can be reached at [email protected] or 847.391.1007.
This past Saturday, the nation marked Small Business Saturday – the yearly campaign that encourages focus on shopping at small businesses after the hullabaloo of Black Friday.
Small Business Saturday was launched in 2010 by American Express, and has seen growing success: According to a Bloomberg Businessweek report, shoppers who were aware of Small Business Saturday spent $5.7 billion with independent merchants last weekend, up from $5.5 billion in 2012.
While businesses like water treatment dealerships are less the focus of the day than independently owned shops and restaurants, the contrast of Small Business Saturday to Black Friday and Cyber Monday brings to mind an ongoing issue within the water treatment industry: big box stores versus dealerships.
In Water Quality Product’s 2013 State of the Industry survey, 16.4% of respondents said that big box stores had a negative impact on sales in 2013, and 15.8% expected them to have a negative effect in 2014. In a free response section of the survey, many more respondents commented that competition from big box stores and Internet retailers would be the greatest challenge facing their businesses in the next two years.
Consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about the water quality and environmental issues, which means more people are likely to be in the search for water treatment equipment for their homes. The question is whether they will turn to a big box store or a water treatment dealer.
Did your company offer any deals for Small Business Saturday? How do you combat competition from big box stores year round? Let us know in the comments below or e-mail us [email protected].