When I was a little girl, my mother, my grandmother or my aunts took me along for shopping excursions. In those early years, shopping was something you made a day of. You dressed a little nicer and you planned for the whole day out. Your task was only to meander, to find a nice place for lunch where you could rest your weary legs and have a place to lay your bounty while you discussed your finds.
In Store Shopping Is a Unique Holiday Experience
Shopping wasn’t just to find a good deal, it was an experience of amazing salespeople, gift wrapping, holiday cheer at every turn. Some of my fondest memories are of these times.
Traveling to Boston to shop at Filenes, Bonwit Teller, Shreve Crump and Low, Lord and Taylor, that had the glitz and glamour of old fashioned elegance especially during holiday times. We would make our way to experience the sounds and delights of the oncoming Christmas Holiday and on our way home, we would drive along Commonwealth Avenue to look at the decorations on the majestic homes along the way.
At other times, we found our way to some of the smaller towns to shop in the specialty stores. High level boutiques, charming and expert saleswomen ready to wait on you, offer you service and help you like it was their careers because it was.
After this charming moment down memory lane longing for the “simpler times” we think yesteryear was, it is easy to forget the times that weren’t as we selectively remember only the shiny happy moments. I briefly reminisce here because we know what came next.
What came next were the box stores on every corner, the empty stores and malls, the "dumbing" down of the shopping experience as we learned that with a push of a button and an annual membership, anything and everything could be at our door the next day.
Books, toothpaste, sneakers, underwear, televisions, even cars without ever leaving our homes.
The Covid experience added to this as we realized how much easier and safer it could be to keep the boxes coming. Out of toilet paper as you go to reach for your last roll? Open the app on your phone and order it before you even leave the bathroom. Convenience nuclear style.
Online shopping is so damn easy and it is never going away.
The Alayne White Online Store
This is why I created my online store, to make it easier to shop at all hours of the day and night so that I could at the very least have an online shopping experience for my customers.
As convenient as this may be, as helpful as it is to keep my small business open and thriving as people are still deciding if getting a facial right now is a good choice for them, online shopping will never replace the experience of real in person shopping.
Shopping in a store, talking to a live salesperson, interacting, engaging, feeling the stimuli that only real shelves of colorful goods can offer is still a lovelier choice.
It is the experience of shopping.
Not just buying things, but browsing things.
Two women meandered into my store yesterday; they were mother and daughter wandering around my small town. I am not sure they had any intention of buying anything, but I was happy to greet them and offer them a cup of tea as they poked around.
We spoke a bit, they shopped and left with quite a few items that I wrapped for them in the way that I love, an excuse to spread joy and kindness adding my signature stickers, teabags and fireballs to the small trinkets they purchased.
It made me happy knowing people were out wanting to have a live shopping experience and it made me hopeful that we may see a turning point where people actually want to engage in the shopping experience again. Our teenagers may never know what this feels like because of the online options made available to them since they were born.
The business of shopping small and supporting your local businesses was a movement well before Covid. Getting in your car to head to a place, not being sure if the place you are going to has what you need or is even open can be a deciding factor whether to shop live or online.
In Store Shopping Is Worth The Effort
The smells, the sounds of music and voices, the kindness of strangers, the joy as you walk outside and feel the cold air in your lungs tempered with the warm air of the stores you enter.
Here are a few considerations as you decide how to spend your hard earned money this year that you may not think about if you are not a small business owner.
Just because we are open and smiling doesn’t mean that things are OK. We business owners learned early on that a stiff upper lip is the way to run a successful business. Who wants to buy from a cranky salesperson?
A Few Tips for In Store Shopping
1. Every single sale helps right now. Even the 5.00 magnet you pick up and put back down, EVERY SALE.
If you walk into a small business right now, buy something- just one item. It is not just about the sales, it is about the feeling for the business owner that everything is going to be ok. In my new store, there are many fun items that you can build your own gift box right here or I can do it for you, or you can do it online too!
2. Your small purchase really helps psychologically as much as financially.
Please do not take photos of items in any small business. We know when someone does this that they are going to try to buy it online later somewhere other than our stores. Please don't do this.
3. Spend above the gift card amount.
If you have a gift card that you held on to and you are finally going to use it, please try to spend at least $10.00 more than the card is worth. That gift card money is long gone in our small businesses after going through lock down, shutdown, employee loss, business loss that will never come back, spending just a little more makes a huge difference in a small business.
4. Make a day out of it.
Remember during lock down when everything was so quiet and calm? There was no traffic, no people? All of a sudden, life is full throttle again and we are forgetting to make the space and time for each other as life has accelerated.
5. Make time to be with a few friends. Shops love to see this and it is so affirming to hear people laughing and picking up and enjoying some of the items you purchased for your store.
Goodness knows we need more of that.
Ways to Shop Alayne White
I created a few ways to shop now that I have a new store in my service business:
- Virtual shopping you can set up an appointment here.
- Private shopping for you and a few friends- you can set up an appointment here.
- Or walk in and shop I am open through the holidays Fridays - Sundays 11-4.
Now this is goodness.