As soon as Halloween is over, the holiday shopping season begins and it’s a race against time—for both retailers and customers alike—to talk about the biggest deals and the best sales.
Nationally, the three main shopping events are Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving; Small Business Saturday, which is the following day; and Cyber Monday, the start of the next week. Black Friday gets kicked off by the major chains across the country, with some opening doors on Thanksgiving Day. And Cyber Monday has been a time for e-tailers to offer their best deals via promo codes and flash sales.
LegalZoom recently compiled a list of top three small business types by state and placed them on a map. Each state’s top business types are shown, and boy do they run the gamut; from manufacturing in Wisconsin to health care in New Mexico to professional services in Virginia, all 50 states bring something special to the table.
For a small business owner, it can be an exciting time to position your business for an increase in sales and revenue this time of year. According to the National Retail Foundation, 45 million people went shopping on Thanksgiving last year, 92 million on Black Friday and yet another 131 million shopped on Cyber Monday.
Americans take their holiday shopping very seriously. For small business owners, however, competing against the big box retailers and online outlets isn’t always feasible. But there are a few creative ideas other small and mid-sized companies have adopted to encourage shoppers to “shop small business,” and perhaps this holiday season those ideas can help your company as well.
Here are a few more ideas you can use to promote your holiday offerings and make it a no-brainer for savvy shoppers to support your small business.
Go online: A recent study by digital marketing company Gannett found that 84% of consumers do some research online before making a holiday gift purchase at a small business location. So why not meet them there? Update your website, brush up your Facebook profile and make sure your Yelp page looks good. Consider buying ads on those networks as well; using keywords that would be relevant to your customer, utilize Facebook’s deep targeting capabilities to get in front of local residents as they contemplate gifts. And if you have an e-commerce site, your reach can be as broad as you want.
Lastly, if your website traffic shows a lot of traffic coming from mobile devices, make sure your site is mobile-optimized so as to not lose those on-the-go customers (and sales).
Focus on service: Look on any social network and a big complaint holiday shoppers have about the big box retailers is the long lines and lack of personalized service or care. Why not let that inspire you to upgrade your customer service/experience? Consider adding things like free gift wrapping, personal shopping services, last-minute delivery offering, or even just a nice, friendly team of cashiers who can provide gift-giving advice on-the-go. It’ll be a small effort for you but a breath of fresh air for the harried and exhausted holiday shopper.
Team up: Why stop at partnering with Yelp or another online resource? Consider branding together with other local businesses and host a Small Business Crawl. Set up a date and time, and invite shoppers to visit each store and check out your goods. Add free beer or wine and you’ve got a guaranteed group of community supporters who will be excited to check out your neighborhood’s offerings.
So next time you hear someone ask, “When is Small Business Saturday?” you’ll not only know the answer, but you’ll have a great set of ideas you’ll be incorporating to bring that customer in your store.