Saturday, November 24th has been designated as the 2nd annual Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday that was created last year by American Express, with a goal to raise awareness about the importance of shopping at small businesses and encouraging Americans to make some of their holiday purchases at a small, local business. It is sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which typically are the largest shopping days of the year for many big box store and online retailers. Last year, over 100 million people “shopped small” and supported Small Business Saturday!
If you are a retail business, hopefully you will be participating in Small Business Saturday. The holiday season is typically a great time of year for retail businesses, and data from the US Department of Commerce supports the probably obvious notion that drastic spikes in retail activity occur during the holidays, particularly online, so prepare to capitalize from Small Business Saturday!
If you are not a retail small business, you can still benefit from Small Business Saturday; you might just need to be a little more creative. Check out our 5 tips (for both retail and service businesses) on how your small business can profit from Small Business Saturday:
1. Create doorbusters. You’ve seen doorbusters prominently featured in Black Friday ads. They are typically loss leaders that entice shoppers to come into the store. These deals are purposely offered at a loss, because the stores know that usually if they can get people into their store and excited about shopping, shoppers are likely to buy more goods at full price.
There are a few critical elements to designing a doorbuster. Obviously make sure you limit the number of doorbusters that are available. You have to be purposeful in how much you can afford to lose, and also if you’re sure to run out, people who come in to look for the doorbuster will likely look for something else to spend their money on, even if the doorbuster is gone. Also, it is a good idea to limit the timeframe the doorbusters are available. Doing so ensures the maximum number of people present—and creates the psychological “shopping frenzy” that will propel additional full-price sales.
2. Special Offers. Special offers, limited-time offers, and limited-quantity offers are somewhat similar to a doorbuster, but can be used not only by retail businesses, but service businesses as well. If your small business is one that typically slows down during the holidays, creating a special offer can stimulate additional business for you that you might not have had otherwise. If you don’t offer special offers too frequently, this can be a very effective way to generate new business during traditionally slow periods.
3. Offer gift certificates/gift cards. The holidays are a very popular time for gift certificates and gift cards, so make sure your small business is offering them! Gift cards and gift certificates are great not only for retail businesses, but service businesses as well. Make sure everyone knows about them by posting on your social media networks. You might even want to think up some special offers that can be bought by gift certificate.
4. Partner with a charity. People tend to be more generous and charitable around the holidays, and many purposely donate food, toys, and clothing to their favorite charities during the holidays. Partnering with a local charity on Small Business Saturday and continuing through the holiday season will help your community, give your brand name a boost, and can get you good exposure during a time when customers may or may not be thinking about you, depending on what type of business you have. This tip can be especially helpful for service businesses that are typically slow during the holiday season.
5. Promote Small Business Saturday. American Express provides small businesses with free in-store signage, which will help raise awareness and let everyone know you will be participating in the big day. Download free signage here.
American Express also offers e-marketing materials that include logos, email templates, free “Shop Small” decals, and suggested Twitter and Facebook posts for your pages. Download free e-marketing materials here.
So whether you are a small business owner or customer, encourage your friends and family to rally around the local small businesses in your area on Small Business Saturday. The more businesses and people that get involved, the larger the impact and the more beneficial it will be for everyone!