Small Business Saturday is less than a week away, but don’t worry if you haven’t planned anything special. We are here with last minute ideas to make this day a success for your business.
What is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday is an initiative started by American Express to encourage shoppers to support local businesses on the Saturday after Black Friday. This year it falls on Saturday, November 24. While not an official holiday, this event has gained huge traction with 70% of U.S. shoppers aware of it and 58% claiming they patronized more small businesses during this weekend. This can add up to big profits, last year 108 million people spent 12.9 billion dollars at small businesses during the weekend after thanksgiving. Don’t let your small business miss out! Use these ideas to capitalize on this great initiative.
Embrace the day.
In order to be as successful as possible on Small Business Saturday, make sure you are ready. Stock up on your most popular items, do any possible prep work in advance, and consider bringing in an extra staff member or two to help handle the crowds. The more work you can do to prepare your business in advance, the smoother things will run on Saturday.
As part of the preparation, you also want to make sure your website is in top shape to handle an influx of customers. Make sure your site looks its best and that all links are working. If a site is malfunctioning it can drive away customers very quickly and they are unlikely to return. Notice a problem on your site? Reach out to us, we are happy to help!
In addition, consider extending your hours on Saturday to attract shoppers who are visiting your store as part of a busy shopping day. This might mean opening an hour early or staying a few hours late. If you do this, be sure to give your staff a big thank you.
Now that the logistics are ready, it’s time to start planning the day. American Express offers a variety of resources for small business owners on their website which can be accessed here. These are great starting points for planning and ideas.
If you are reading this and thinking, well this doesn’t apply to my small business, don’t be fooled! Businesses that sell holiday gifts are not the only ones that can benefit from this. Maybe you are a lawn care company and offer a special deal for customers who buy in early for next season’s services or a tax accountant who runs an early promotion for tax season, you can find a way to use this day to advance your small business. Don’t miss out!
Finally, Small Business Saturday offers an easy way to start thinking ahead to your next year of business. Use this as an excuse to consider what you hope your business can accomplish before the end of the year and to begin planning for next year.
Offer special deals.
There are many ways you can offer special incentives to shoppers depending on your type of business. You may consider offering a discount on purchases or include a free gift or free shipping with purchases over a certain amount. For restaurants and other service based companies, a common deal is to offer a free gift card with the purchase of another gift card, for example a free $20 card with the purchase of a $100 card. Finally, you may consider running a sweepstakes where customers can win prizes based on entries awarded with purchases.
With whatever deal you decide to offer, it is important to remember that this is not Black Friday and slashing prices to incredible lows is likely not the right tactic for your small business. The majority of Small Business Saturday shoppers are motivated by supporting their local community and you should still be able to make a profit.
Amp up your marketing.
Small Business Saturday provides a wealth of marketing material to use. Be sure you are posting on social media leading up to and throughout the weekend to share the deals you are offering and use related hashtags to increase your reach. In between postings, engage with customers who like or comment on your posts to strengthen your online relationships. Another way to utilize social media is to join and post in holiday shopping groups. You can find a variety of these types of groups on Facebook, join ones that fit your audience. Finally, if you have an email list, send out an email a few days before and a day of email detailing the special offers you are running.
If you have a physical store, blend online and offline engagement by offering customers a discount or incentive if they check-in on social media. This will create a buzz about your brand online and encourage customers to follow your social media pages. As part of your in-store efforts, make Saturday feel like a special event with balloons, signs, and free snacks to make customers feel appreciated and to create a festive environment.
Small Business Saturday is a great time to build relationships for your brand. As more and more customers shop at big box stores online, ensure that your customer service goes above and beyond to prove to your shoppers what sets you apart. If customers have a great experience they are much more likely to remember your brand and return for future purchases. If something does go wrong, studies have shown that correcting the problem in a positive way can leave a very memorable, positive impression. Be sure to act to any issues quickly, kindly, and transparently.
In addition to building relationships with customers, you can also use this day to build bonds with other small businesses. Post on your social media about the small brands you love and if you source your products or materials from small businesses post this on social media as well and they may even repost you. Local business organizations or the Chamber of Commerce might also be organizing collaborative events for Small Business Saturday, do some research and see if you can join. Collaborating with small businesses is a great way to gain tractions in competitive markets and this is a great opportunity to initiate partnerships.
Supporting a charity on Small Business Saturday can help a great cause while also impressing customers. Studies have shown that millennials prefer to support businesses with a social mission, attract these kinds of shoppers by supporting the issues you care about by donating a portion of profits.
Keep the momentum going.
The effects of Small Business Saturday don’t have to end at the end of the day, the holiday season still lies ahead. Keep the momentum going by offering deals throughout the holiday season and advertise them on social media to stay connected with the new online connections you make.
We hope these tips help you have a successful Small Business Saturday! Are you trying a cool promotion this year? Share it with us on Twitter, @KuvioCreative.