Small Business Saturday falls on November 26 this year. It’s an international program started by American Express that encourages shopping at small businesses and has been growing since 2010.
The importance of supporting small businesses is even more relevant this year. COVID-19 has ravaged the economy and has left the world in a state of crisis. Supporting initiatives like this will be the starting point for rebuilding our economy, on a local, community, and statewide level.
Preparing your company, employees and your website for Small Business Saturday should be at the forefront of your mind in the coming weeks. You should already be thinking about preparing content to improve your site’s traffic leading up to the day.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some different tips for your small business, to help you increase your exposure, leads, and sales. We’ll also take a look at COVID-19’s impact on small businesses and why it is important to shop small now more than ever.
What is Small Business Saturday?
As alluded to above, Small Business Saturday (SBS) is an initiative created by Amex to help encourage consumers to shop small and help out local businesses. The hashtag #ShopSmall has been growing since the inception of SBS in 2010.
Over the years, SBS has essentially become a part of the American consumer culture. In 2019, 70% of American adults polled said they were aware of the event. SBS 2020 is on track to be the biggest year for it yet.
Small businesses have been unjustly hit in 2020, and the devastating impact of COVID-19 is felt across the world. Numerous small businesses are having to alter the way they operate, or risk being forced to close.
The adverse effects of COVID-19 will likely be felt for years to come, so understanding the need to shop small this year is vital to helping businesses weather this storm. But it’s not just the small businesses and customers that can get involved in the recovery efforts. Companies with over 150 staff can apply to be SBS corporate sponsors. These organizations can help out by encouraging their followers, clients, and employees to shop small. Here are our 8 tips for Small Business Saturday.
Digitize your business.
The pandemic has been a catalyst for certain businesses and a wake-up call for others. Highlighting the importance of digitizing your business and having new channels for your customers to access your products or services. From the ability to order curbside pickup, new delivery options, bookable appointments, or an online shop, we’ve seen all forms of small businesses adapt.
Ensuring you have an up-to-date and modern presence that allows your customers to buy online is key to future business, even if you’re currently running a physical brick-and-mortar store.
One of the best strategies to allow customers to access products or services digitally and securely is to host your eCommerce store in the cloud. Cloud storage providers can offer several important advantages when it comes to eCommerce, including greater security with PCI-DSS certified hosting, greater scalability, and faster upload times.
Focus on your USP (Unique Selling Proposition).
It can be tough competing with big brands and stores, but your differences can be your strengths. For example, focusing on the fact that you are small, family-owned, or you have local products.
Let your customers know why you are special and what makes your small business unique. One example of this is telling your brand’s story in your marketing efforts. You’ll be surprised how effective this can be. Understanding your selling point and marketing is critical to succeeding as a small business. Make sure you scream it from the metaphorical rooftops.
Having a consistent brand presence can work wonders for your business. Using the right social media tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer, you can integrate with each of the major social media platforms and automate your posts to help maximize your social ROI and increase sales.
Broadcasting your involvement in SBS and creating promotions can entice even more sales, and is a great social media strategy for this sale day. In addition, using the hashtag #ShopSmall on your social channels in the coming weeks will increase awareness and help potential customers find you easily.
Consider gift cards.
One thing that increases exponentially from consumers around the holiday season is the purchase of gift cards/certificates. With this in mind, there’s a huge opportunity for your business to develop gift cards to entice future purchases.
One of the major benefits of gift cards is they take the pressure off customers so they don’t have to pick an item right away. Offering an additional promotion on buying gift cards can also help increase your exposure and sales. An example could be when someone buys a gift card you can give them $5 additional gift credit for free. This can create a buzz around the promotion and spark more shopper’s interest.
Supporting our communities is always important, but this year, it’s even more so. Finding ways to partner with other small businesses in your area can be a great way to improve your exposure and support other local owners.
An example could be partnering with a local charity. Working with these types of charities can create positive ripple effects and aid your local community in a plethora of ways.
Get ideas from your team.
The beauty of smaller teams is that they are normally pretty tight-knit. Have a couple of meetings with your staff to get ideas and strategize how you are going to approach Small Business Saturday.
Making SBS a win for your team and a part of an overall group effort will help improve your chemistry and morale. A further incentive could be a staff bonus or a prize for whoever has the best idea.
Creating awareness for Small Business Saturday can be done in a range of different ways, whether it’s via word of mouth, flyers, social media posts, or a mailshot.
Interestingly, in recent years we have seen an increase in the successful use of email as a part of small business awareness campaigns. With roughly 250 billion emails sent every day and a ton of tools to use them effectively, it shouldn’t be hard to see why email marketing should still have a place in your strategy. If anything, email marketing can be more effective than social media.
Regardless of the method you choose, making sure your customers know you are part of Small Business Saturday is critical to improving your exposure and sales.
Extend your business hours.
Having more availability on the busier days of the year is nothing new, but small businesses tend to overlook Small Business Saturday’s importance to their detriment.
Regardless of the industry, you’re in, having extended hours or staff availability on SBS can be worth its weight in gold. Even if you’re an online-focused business, you can get your support staff to work longer shifts to pre-empt the influx of sales or customer service needed.
Remember, for a lot of small businesses, SBS can be the busiest day of the year.
Small Business Saturday is just one step towards localized economic recovery. This program allows customers to actively find and learn about businesses in their area, get a better idea of where products come from, and engage in the local community.
This article was written by Nahla Davies and originally appeared on Score.