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Father's Day Can Be a Small-Business Bonanza

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Father's Day is just around the corner, and so is the last-minute gift shopping -- mainly in the home improvement, electronics and bad-tie aisles. But department stores and large discount retailers don't have to be the only ones that profit from shopping for Dad.

Small businesses can make their mark this Father's Day by displaying their uniqueness and offering superior customer service.

Department stores and large discount retailers don't have to be the only ones profiting from Father's Day. Small businesses can also get in on the action.

Total spending for Father's Day is expected to reach $11.1 billion this year. On average, Americans will shell out $106.49 on Dad, 13% more than they spent last year and the most in eight years, according to the National Retail Federation's Consumer Intentions and Actions Father's Day survey, which polled 8,344 consumers between May 3-10.

According to the survey:

  • $2.1 billion will be spent on activities such as golfing, dining out or the movies;
  • $1.4 billion toward gift cards;
  • $1.4 billion on clothing;
  • $1.4 billion on tools and appliances;
  • $1.3 billion on electronics;
  • $653 million on sporting goods;
  • $593 million on automotive accessories.

Still, it's no Mother's Day, on which Americans on average will spend $140.73, the NRF says.

Consumers will be hitting stores and e-commerce sites, according to the NRF survey, spending as follows:

  • 35.2% at a department store;
  • 32.2% at a discount store;
  • 26.9% at a specialty store;
  • 22.1% online;
  • 8.9% at a specialty clothing store.

>>>Retailers Fail To Cash In on Father's Day

Small businesses can get a leg up.

John Nolan, President of Core Marketing Agency and an adjunct professor of marketing at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business, says businesses should:

  • Offer an array of unique merchandise that would appeal to dads (think outside the box);
  • Develop a high level of familiarity with customers;
  • Be resolute in making service remarkable, establishing loyalty.

Even small businesses that have not already captured customers have time to do so via email blasts to established lists and via blog entries, Twitter and Facebook offers. (Storefront banners also work, Nolan adds.)

Baby boomer men are using and adopting technology to connect to their adult children, and small companies can leverage this by using their personal connections and authenticity, says Shauna Axton, strategic planning director for advertising firm Saatchi LA.

"The view is boomers are not tech savvy, when the reality is they really caught up. They're using Facebook and other technologies via their iPads almost as much as younger generations," she says. Since research finds boomers are using Facebook to connect with their family, tailor advertising to that, Axton says.

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