Small Business Saturday 2020: Tips For Celebrating the Pandemic-Era Event

With November already well underway, Small Business Saturday is now just around the corner. Of course, the 2020 edition — which will be celebrated on November 28th — will be unlike any other in the shopping holiday’s now decade-long history. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of ways for small businesses to take advantage of this nationwide promotion, increasing their sales and wooing new customers in the process.

Whether you’re operating exclusively online, welcoming guests to your brick and mortar location, or even still waiting to reopen, here are a few ideas for how you can celebrate Small Business Saturday while also keeping your guests safe.

Emphasize your e-commerce platform

Online shopping has already been growing with each passing year — but there’s good reason to believe that e-commerce will make up an even larger share of holiday shopping sales this time around. Therefore, it’s likely in your best interest to make your site a headline piece of your Small Business Saturday strategy. This could mean offering virtual “door busters,” promoting coupon codes valid on select purchases all day, or offer other bonus perks such as complimentary gift cards with purchase.

Unfortunately, if you don’t already have an e-commerce platform, getting one up and running before the big day may be a tall task. Because of this, we’ll also look at options for in-store celebrations as well.

Offer curbside and contactless options

Even if you aren’t able to build an e-commerce site ahead of Small Business Saturday, you may still be able to find different ways for your customers to shop. A common practice as of late is to offer curbside pickup. This could be as simple as putting a sandwich board out front with your phone number so that customers can place their orders and have them brought to their car. Of course, this won’t allow guests to see everything you have available, so it may be helpful to create a shopping guide you can post on social media or on your website. Having such a guide will also make it easy to highlight your Small Business Saturday specials.

Another potential option is to try out local delivery. Using the same shopping guide, you can allow customers to place orders via phone or direct message and then have them delivered to their door. Obviously there are a few challenges to this option as you’ll need to ensure you have the staff available to make these runs. It’s also probably a good idea to decide on a delivery radius ahead of time so that you’re not making deliveries that, quite honestly, aren’t worth your time. While this option may not make sense to do every day, it may be a smart way to boost sales during the busy shopping weekend.

Promote your safety measures

In 2020, bringing customers to your store doesn’t just take great sales and service but also safety. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to share what steps you’re taking to help protect shoppers. On a similar note, it’s also advisable to make your company policies clear when it comes to matters of mandatory face coverings and the like.

As for what sort of precautions customers may want to see, enhanced cleaning and sanitation are often at the top of the list. Additionally, it can be helpful to offer hand sanitizer available for customers as they enter and browse your store. Lastly, since there may be lines outside of your location in anticipation of Small Business Saturday, you may want to place pieces of tape on the ground so that customers can properly social distance (capping capacity inside your store may also be necessary). Ultimately, with whatever steps you decide are appropriate, communicating them to customers can help ease their minds and encourage them to come on out.

Gift bundles are still winners

Now more than ever, if customers are shopping in person, they want to get in and out. With that in mind, gift bundles could prove increasingly popular in 2020. Bundles are a win-win for businesses and shoppers as they offer curated recommendations and a good value at the same time.

Business owners can also create several different bundle options themed to various interests. Additionally, offering gift packages in a range of price points can make for an easy upsell opportunity. For the cherry on top, you can even consider making gift cards either a feature of the bundles or a Small Business Saturday bonus that can help inspire return visits to your business.

Join Amex’s Shop Small Map

Did you know that American Express — the company that first founded Small Business Saturday back in 2010 — can literally put your business on the map? The card company offers a Shop Small map where customers can search for local and online businesses. Having a listing for your business can be an easy way to raise awareness among holiday shoppers and even lead them to your website. So, for details on how to create or update your Shop Small listing, be sure to check out Amex’s site. While you’re there, you can also use their Shop Small Studio to create promotional materials (digital and physical) for the big day.

Consider online giveaways

If driving foot traffic to your store on Small Business Saturday isn’t an option (or perhaps isn’t the best option), you may still want to take advantage of the occasion by building your following on social media. That’s where online giveaways can be useful. There are several ways to manage this — including free options or using paid tools like Gleam. In either case, you’ll want to be sure to encourage entrants to share your post and require that winners are following you on your preferred platform.

Although giving things away now won’t directly benefit your bottom line, growing your audience could serve you well once are ready to welcome back customers to your brick and mortar location. Similarly, whether you already have a sales site up and running or plan to, having a larger social following will make conversion easier online as well. Keep these future benefits in mind when determining if a giveaway makes financial sense for your Small Business Saturday plans.

Advertise your offerings with Facebook ads

Whether you’re sticking to online offerings or in-person events, Facebook ads can be a great and affordable way to promote your sales. Something that not all business owners may realize is that, just because customers are following your page, it doesn’t mean that they see every post you put up. That’s why it can be helpful to “boost” posts on the platform or create ads from scratch.

As mentioned, the minimum budget for most Facebook ad campaigns can be as low as a few dollars. Plus, you’ll have plenty of options for targeting potential customers using the platform’s tools. Thus, not only is it a good idea to explore Facebook ads ahead of Small Business Saturday but it may also be worth experimenting with them year-round.

Small Business Saturday 2020 will undoubtedly come with a new set of challenges. Regardless, the annual shopping event still presents a great opportunity for business owners. With that in mind, consider these tips (and feel free to come up with your own clever solutions!) to help make this year’s unique Small Business Saturday a success.

Also published on Medium.

Great ideas for small business owners. Personally I prefer stores or establishments that have clear rules and protocols oh how to keep their customers safe while shopping.

Small business saturday will be a lot different this year but still hopeful for small business owners.

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Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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