What is Small Business Saturday? Last year over 88 million people shopped their local brick and mortar small business shops on Small Business Saturday. When people shop Small Business Saturday for holiday gifts, they keep their dollars in the community, supporting their neighbors’ businesses, instead of large corporations. The day was conceived by American Express to support small business and encourage shoppers to shop locally. It has now become a beloved tradition for many shoppers who enjoy meeting local merchants and exploring what their town has to offer.
When is Small Business Saturday?
Designed to capitalize on the lull between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this day always occurs the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The Small Business Saturday 2015 date is November 28, less than a month before Christmas.
Partner with American Express
American Express offers Small Business Day resources for your business and you do not need to be an American Express merchant to participate. Small Business Saturday registration is available on their site. Sign up with them so that you appear on their Small Business Saturday map. Download event guides, such as information about setting up a scavenger hunt through the small businesses in your area. They also offer signage and digital images for use on social media so you can help get the word out about this important day.
Plan in Advance
If you are going to participate in Small Business Saturday 2015, start getting ready in advance. Make sure you have enough inventory to meet demand. If you handcraft products in your store, get things made in advance. Hire additional help to staff your store. Hang signs in the window promoting the event. Plan special sales and offers for this day only. If you are participating in Small Business Saturday online, make sure your web site is ready to go and has enough bandwidth to handle the additional traffic. Consider offering some online only specials so customers will go to both your store and your web site.
Think about what you can do to entice visitors into your store. Free food is always a draw, but you could also offer entertainment (such as a live band) or activities that somehow relate to the theme of your store (nail painting in a jewelry store, cooking demos in a gourmet shop, crafting projects in a home accessories shop). Small giveaways also make customers more likely to stop in and if they come in they are more likely to buy something. Make sure you encourage customers to come back with a coupon for a small percent off a future purchase.
Use Social Media
Social media can help you get the word out about your special offers. Post about your sales in the weeks leading up to the day. Highlight freebies, such as cider, hot chocolate, or cookies, you will have to welcome customers. Instagram photos of items that will be on sale. Plan to post at least once a week through November about your shop’s plans for the big day. Use the hashtag #ShopSmall or #SmallBusinessSaturday to highlight your plans.
While social media is a wonderful way to reach customers, there are other people you can reach through your shop. Give customers in your store a card or flyer reminding them to shop Small Business Saturday. Hang signs early. Coordinate with other businesses in your area to cross-promote each other. Place ads in local papers and make yourself available to local radio and TV shows to talk about the importance of this day.
Small Business Saturday is an important way to increase your shop’s sales for the holiday season. Plan ahead to make this year your biggest one ever.