Move over Black Friday, there’s a new holiday making a splash in the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy. Small Business Saturday, which celebrates its tenth year this season, is gaining even more momentum.
More than 104 million consumers shopped Small Business Saturday last year, spending $17.8 billion at local businesses across the nation.
What is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday is a nationally recognized shopping day that encourages consumers to make purchases at local small businesses.
American Express launched Small Business Saturday in 2010 as a way to increase awareness and sales during the busiest shopping season of the year. The holiday falls on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.
With a little preparation and promotion, any small business can participate in the holiday. To help, we’ve created an 9-point checklist to attract customers to your store and #shopsmall.
Here’s what to do to get ready for Small Business Saturday:
1. Clear the clutter
Make sure your business/store/restaurant is clean and organized. Studies show that clutter is distracting, making it hard for customers to focus. Take extra time to make sure your clothing racks, shelves and end-caps are clutter-free and eye pleasing.
2. Schedule additional staff
To make a good impression on Small Business Saturday, schedule additional staff to handle customers with ease. Big retailers struggle to offer top-notch customer service, so this is an area where small businesses can standout.
Research shows just how important customer service is to consumers. Seventy-six percent of consumers say the level of customer service they receive shows how much a brand values them. Be prepared to dazzle customers with knowledge and friendly staff.
3. Get your website ready
Small Business Saturday’s aim is to bring customers into your store, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect your website. Why? Research shows 78 percent of consumers use the internet to do holiday research before making purchases, so consider adding some of your most popular products to your website, if you haven’t done so already. Be sure to add Small Business Saturday badges to your site as well, which we mention and include in point 7 below.
4. Plan a special promotion
Nothing attracts holiday shoppers like a good deal. Consider creating a special promotion for Small Business Saturday. You can offer a discount, a coupon for use at a later date, a free gift or additional reward points.
5. Turn Small Business Saturday into an event
Go beyond offering customers 15% off, and turn Small Business Saturday into a must-attend event. Consider booking a DJ, offer kid’s activities, provide food and drink or host a holiday themed contest in-store, like an ugly sweater contest.
With a little planning, you can invite the community to an event, rather than a holiday sale.
Here’s what to do to attract customers and to promote Small Business Saturday.
6. Announce your participation on social, email, and text
If you are participating in the Tahoe Chamber’s GO Local & Win holiday campaign or the American Express campaign, tell all of your social fans that your business plans to take part in Small Business Saturday. Use hashtags such as #GOLocalandWin #ShopSmall or #SmallBusinessSaturday to promote events and promotions.
Consider creating an event on Facebook to help advertise your store and the day’s activities too. (Here are instructions on how to create an event on Facebook.)
If you use email and/or text message marketing tools, be sure to send out announcements ASAP.
7. Give customers a save-the-date
Remind customers to come back to your store by adding a save-the-date to their bag at the checkout. The save-the-date could offer basic information about the holiday, and it could also include a coupon to be used on that day specifically.
8. Use day-of social promotions
On Small Business Saturday, snap a few pictures of your busy store and post them on social media with a message encouraging others to stop by. Give this assignment to an employee, or set a reminder on your smartphone so you won’t forget to do it during the hustle and bustle of the day.
9. Promote your special offer
What promotion are you planning? Tell customers about the special deal in advance and on Small Business Saturday. Communicate via text and email.
You might consider offering different deals to different segments of your customer base. For instance, offer your VIP customers a sweeter deal as a thank you for their continued loyalty.