It’s that time of the year again… Christmas is coming!! All I Want for Christmas Is You, Last Christmas, and Do They Know It’s Christmas? are already on the radio two months in advance. Twinkle lights are hung up everywhere. When walking around the neighborhood, you can see all these differently decorated Christmas trees standing in living rooms. The urge to watch Love Actually and The Holiday is getting higher and higher. Needless to say, the atmosphere is getting different – surely but slowly everyone is getting ready for the holiday! Most Dutch people would describe it: as exciting, busy, and, above all, gezellig. Some people may hate it; some absolutely love it.
Christmas is a time when online shops are bombarded with orders. An overflow of shipments needs to be sent. There are so. many. people. ordering all kinds of things. Gifts, festive outfits, decorations, or products for the special dishes to be cooked. The stress levels are high with many people during December. From the pressure of giving great gifts to the family gatherings itself, paired with all the time and money that needs to be spent. The Christmas Craziness converts to Internet Craziness.
Usually, stores are also filled up with many customers trying (and hoping) to get what they need for the Christmas holidays. However, with this new lockdown, nobody can go to the shops to get their presents. So, the internet is the only choice that one has. Only sometimes this is not the best option either… Many people are ordering when the Holiday is closing in, and there may be a longer shipping time. So, the lovely dress you bought for the special days or the awesome present for your father may not arrive on time… This is due to the high demand along with relatively few employees due to COVID-19.
When shopping online, people tend to go to these big commercial retailers such as Bol.com or Wehkamp. These sites are easily accessible, and most people know that they can probably find what they need there. This is, sadly, a loss for all the small businesses that do not have online options to sell their products. Some boutiques do not have a site or online system to sell through but only their in-real-life store. One good thing is that these businesses find creative solutions for this issue.
A friend of my mother owns the store HeinsHome, which is a cozy store with original home accessories and gifts. The products in the store are from all over the world, handmade, and many products are Fair Trade and sustainable. She does have a website where a portion of her products is shown. However, being a one-woman company, it is undoable to keep up with both the physical shop and online website on her own. Also, with the Corona restrictions in the past two years for shops, hiring someone permanently is too expensive.
So, one creative idea she and other shops have employed is the concept of ‘window shopping. The shops put things they sell on display in the shop window, with product identification details and prices. In addition, I saw at most stores that they put up a phone number or other contact information so that people can choose and buy a product. This way, the shop owners can send or deliver packages, and they still have some income in this lockdown!
Last but not least, Merry Christmas, everyone!! Enjoy it and the holiday in general. And good luck with the last exams (rip). To give some extra Christmas spirit, give a listen to the following bangerrr (if you haven’t already done so, haha)
That’s a very smart way for your mother’s friend to still get customers. It is pretty treacherous for small businesses right now. The constant lockdowns and restrictions seem to be killing more and more businesses right now. I remember doing something like this for the store I worked at last year. It seems that not only things like window shopping, but especially social media are absolutely crucial for small businesses to survive this pandemic.
This blog shows the harsh reality we live in now, where small businesses have a hard time to stay alive. This year I actually got all my gifts from Etsy or Vinted to support people instead of big businesses. I think it’s so much more meaningful! Hopefully, the idea of window shopping will help those small shops to survive yet another lockdown and stay afloat.
Ah, the cruel workings of capitalism again. Small businesses always suffer harder than the big guys, unfortunately. But this does urge them to be creative, like you described. Also, I think that what you described is the future for many businesses, big and small, also when corona is not a thing. We already see this going on here and there. People go to the shops to see and feel items, but then go back home and buy it online. Especially for electronics this is common. So I think that these kind of shopping window shops, or showrooms, will be more common in the future.