What is Small Business Saturday?
Started as a way to bring attention (and shoppers!) to the thousands of small businesses across America during the holiday shopping season, Small Business Saturday is celebrated each year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. This year, on November 30, 2019 (Small Business Saturday’s 10th anniversary!), small businesses everywhere will open their doors to shoppers looking for those extra special gifts this holiday season!
How Can I Prepare for Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday is a wonderful opportunity to welcome new shoppers, inspire customer loyalty, and increase holiday sales! These are some of our favorite ways to create a winning Small Business Saturday strategy.
Host or Participate in a Small Business Saturday Event
Many local neighborhoods and small business organizations come together to plan creative Small Business Saturday events that add an extra bit of fun to this festive holiday shopping weekend. For example, Visit Jacksonville, the official travel website for this beach side city, offers a #SmallBizSat passport where shoppers earn stamps by visiting local small businesses that can be entered into a drawing for exciting holiday giveaways.
Include holiday treats for everyone! Offer hot chocolate and cookies to weary shoppers, and delight the little ones with surprise visits and photo opportunities – straight from the North Pole – from Santa Claus himself! Keep the festivities bustling by piping holiday music throughout the store or by featuring live performances by local Christmas carolers throughout the day or evening.
Advertise! Advertise! Advertise!
Advertising has never been easier – or more economical – with opportunities like the many social media platforms available to reach potential customers. Create festive posts and tweets to keep your followers informed about exclusive Small Business Saturday deals and events and how they can take part.
Like, love, and share other Small Business Saturday social media posts to spread the word to others. Be sure to include the holiday hash tags #SmallBusinessSaturday, #SmallBizSat, and #ShopSmall to connect with others in the small business community and beyond!
Emphasize Personal Interactions and Build Relationships
Small businesses have the valuable opportunity to offer personalized interaction with their customers, unlike large retail stores where finding employees is often challenging or via chatbot conversations when shopping online. Personal conversation is at the heart (and the start!) of creating meaningful, lasting relationships.
Welcome conversation by wearing an eye-catching name badge and greeting each guest that comes into your store. Rather than the usual ‘May I help you?’ offer a heartfelt ‘Season’s greetings!’ or ‘Welcome in!’ to start a festive conversation. Sincere, professional interaction with customers often leads to increased holiday sales and returning customers throughout the year.
Offer Valuable Sales and Deals
Valuable offers don’t have to mean deep discounts like the big box stores use to lure customers on Black Friday. Small businesses typically don’t have the sales volume to support such substantial markdowns, even for a short time. Small business patrons generally shop to support their local communities rather than dashing in just for that sought-after door buster.
Begin by aligning your holiday promotions with your store’s sales goals. Restaurateurs may consider offering special Small Business Saturday menus, including discounts on holiday-inspired meals. Retail shops could offer small denomination gift cards with purchases of a specific dollar amount that will inspire customers to return throughout the shopping season.
Show Your Appreciation
There are multitudes of ways to show your appreciation while building customer loyalty. Begin by offering a heartfelt thank you to every shopper who visits your store and send handwritten thank you notes to those customers who purchase from you all year.
Make shopping easier by extending your hours during the bustling holiday season, on the weekends or all week long. Set up a festive gift wrapping station and offer free gift wrapping for all in-store purchases. For an added bit of seasonal marketing, use gift wrap or seals printed with your shop’s name and logo, sure to signal to the gift recipient that something special is in store!
Show your support for local charities. In addition to promoting these charities from within your small business, make a donation in your customers’ honor as a special thank you for shopping with you.