Just recently I received an email from a customer asking if I could lower the price of one of my items for her.
I do not make the items in my store so it is very similar to any retail store at the mall except my business is run entirely online.
I could not imagine going into a brick and mortar store and asking them to lower their price so I will buy it.
This got me thinking and I came to the conclusion that many people do not understand how small/micro-businesses are run. In actuality I cannot really blame the public. We live in an age where Walmarts are popping up everywhere and big box plazas are the go-to shopping centers for most.
The prices at Walmart or another big box store may be lower than that of a small business. One of the main reasons for the price difference is because big box retailers buy in bulk. As a small business I buy items in a smaller quantity. I do not have the financial means or the warehouse space to store 1000’s of one item.
In order to remain competitive, most small businesses (mine included) price our items the best that we can. If you are looking for a discount from a small business these are my tips:
- Be polite. When you email/phone a small business you are not reaching some ‘faceless’ employee. You may be talking to the owner or one of the only 3-5 employees of the business. You cannot just call back later and expect to speak to someone different. Chances are if you are a jerk then the whole office will know.
- Offer to buy more. If you are just wanting to buy one $20.00 item there will be little wiggle room for the business to make their profit. However, if you say you want to buy $200 in items, the store may be able to give you a small discount.
- Be Understanding. If you own a small business it is because you are passionate about what you do. They want to keep their customers happy. The business just may not be able to discount the item for you; maybe they just had a sale or have one planned in the near future.
I encourage everyone to shop from small businesses as often as they can. I understand finances can be tight, but by supporting small business you are supporting the owner and their family directly.