In the world of small businesses, black Friday is just another day in the life. While some small businesses may experience a bump in sales as shoppers rush around looking for something unique and special for their holiday gift giving, most small businesses focus their time and attention on the day after that – known as Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday is an annual event American Express created in 2010 to encourage people to shop with local small businesses. It is now celebrated each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and has been a real boon to small businesses ill-prepared to compete with big box retailers for Black Friday business. Your mission as a small business owner, should you choose to accept it, is to act now to maximize the potential for your most successful Small Business Saturday yet. Here’s what you need to do.
While you can’t compete with big box stores on every front, you can afford to extend store hours for a few key days during the holidays. Small Business Saturday is one of those days. In fact, it’s almost essential. Look at planned events in the nearby area for the day and make sure your store is open and ready to take on customers throughout the event – and afterward. Don’t forget to notify your customers about your extended hours through social media, email, and with special flyers printed up and distributed.
Believe it or not, there are still many people who do not know about the shopping bounties available to them on small business Saturday. According to American Express, 112 million shoppers took advantage of shopping opportunities on Small Business Saturday in 2016 with 72 percent of shoppers aware of the day and what it represented for their shopping opportunities. That means there is still plenty of room for growth for the 2017 event and your small business can be instrumental in achieving that growth. Use social media, including sites like:
And others to drum up excitement about what’s going on in your store as you prepare for Small Business Saturday. Forbes suggests incorporating hashtags in your use of social media to maximize exposure. Show photographs or videos of your employees decorating for the big day. Offer sneak peeks at new merchandise you’re excited to share or of refreshments you’re making to share with your customers on the big day. Be excited and share that excitement with your social media audiences.
With all the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, some shoppers may find it difficult to stop and grab a bite to eat. Offer simple, portable refreshments in your shop (and advertise handily) and watch shoppers flock to your store to try out the delicious treats you have available and see your wares in person. Capitalize on added foot traffic with catchy displays near the refreshment tables and cash registers with perfect complements to the goods your shop sales.
Keep Websites and Mobile Apps Up-to-Date
When offering special sales and services for Small Business Saturday it is important to be certain your mobile apps, website, and signs in store are all on the same page. The last thing you want is confusion among your customers about prices, discounts, deals, and offerings. The days leading up to the main event offer excellent opportunities to make sure everything is ready to go in a final blitz leading up to the main Small Business Saturday event. Don’t wait to the last minute if it can be avoided.
Some point of sale devices allow you to provide prompts to your cashiers reminding them to offer upsells of certain items, ask customers to sign up for email notices, or buy more merchandise to increase their savings opportunities. The more ways you try to sell more or encourage repeat business, the better it is for your business well beyond Small Business Saturday. When you use upselling wisely – not to mention appropriately – it can enhance the customer experience and leave your customers feeling better satisfied.
Offer Attractive Promotions and Incentives
While it is impossible for the average small business to compete with mass retailers when it comes to promotions and incentives, it is possible to offer your unique goods and wares at discounted prices to get more people in the doors. Consider ideas like:
- Raffle Baskets (work with other small businesses to make baskets even more attractive)
- Percentage Off Orders
- Thank You Drawing
- Gift Cards
Of course, the best thing you can offer your customers is a superior, more personal shopping experience complete with a selection of unique items your customers are sure to fall in love with this holiday season. These are the things that will keep them coming back to your store long after the holiday spirit wanes and the hum-drum of the New Year begins.