Shop Small – Small Business Saturday… Are You Ready?

There has never been a more important time to Shop Small. Small Business Saturday is part of the Shop Small Movement, created by American Express during the recession in 2010.  It encourages people to Shop Small giving small businesses and brick-and-mortar stores across the country a special boost and a way to get shoppers’ attention between Black Friday and Cyber Monday – one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. Small Business Saturday takes place on November 28 this year.

Small Business Saturday is a powerful opportunity to reconnect with customers, and boost sales. So, as the big day quickly approaches, are you ready? Here are a few simple ideas to make sure that you are.

Use Free Resources

American Express offers free signs, email templates, posters, web badges, and lots of marketing materials to get your business’ name out there. There’s still time to download many of these materials and get them customized and ready to use in minutes. 

Be Web Ready

Make sure your address, hours and contact information are correct on your website and all your social media profiles. Review your site like you are a customer, ensuring all promotions are prominently displayed and that your payment process is working properly. In addition, make sure your website is mobile-friendly so Saturday’s shoppers who cannot make it to the actual store are able to buy your products from their smartphone. Statistics show that 78% of mobile searches seeking information on a local business results in a purchase.

Extend Your Hours

Make it easy for customers to shop. If you usually close at 6 p.m. on Saturdays, consider staying open until 8 or 9 p.m. Be sure to update your website and social media, and put the new hours prominently on your storefront window or door.

Plan Incentives

Give people a reason to come to your store. Consider instore incentives, such as raffles, which help you to collect contact information to promote your store throughout the year. Experts also say not to be tempted to compete with the Big Box stores by slashing prices or offering ‘doorbuster’ type specials. Instead, remember your market is coming to you for a different reason… support local businesses.

Be Staff Ready – Customer Service is Key

Train or re-train staff to make a good impression, creating a more personalized experience to help you stand out amongst competitors. Run through scenarios that might occur at your store during peak periods and give your staff the words to say to solve problems and the tools they need to help first-time customers or those who haven’t visited your store in a while.

Support Local Charities

Customers love knowing where their money is going, especially if it is for a good cause. Many businesses have had big successes on Small Business Saturday by offering promotions and partnerships with other local shops, but also because they dedicated a portion of their sales to a local charity. It helps to motivate customers to shop and makes them happy knowing their money will also being helping those in need in their community.

Become a Holiday Tradition

Tie-in with other festive events going on in your city. Many cities host carolers or visits with Santa during Small Business Saturday that draw customers to your downtown. Becoming a part of the local festivities ensures customers return again and again to create memories, and shopping along the way.

Beyond Small Business Saturday While this special Saturday can boost sales, think beyond this day by offering a series of specials that are available throughout the holiday season. After the holidays, review what worked and what didn’t. You can easily repurpose many of the strategies used during the holiday season to encourage repeat business and strengthen relationships with customers all year long.

Mary Nielsen

President, Crown Point Community Foundation

219-662-7252 | [email protected]