Small Business Saturday and How You Can Participate
At this point, it’s pretty fair to assume that the vast majority of American shoppers are aware of Black Friday. Also gaining prominence in the consumer conscience is Cyber Monday, which follows the weekend shopping blitz and takes place online. However, yet another holiday shopping initiative has been growing over the past few years and also takes place this week: Small Business Saturday.
Started in 2010 by American Express, Small Business Saturday encourages consumers to visit their local retailers the day after the big box bonanza. While some may find it somewhat dubious that a credit card company invented a shopping day merely to help small businesses, that hasn’t stopped a growing number of entrepreneurs and shoppers from participating. Besides does the fact that Black Friday’s origins aren’t as recent or memorable make it any more legitimate than Small Business Saturday?
So how big is Small Business Saturday? According to CNBC last year’s event resulted in $14.3 billion in sales with nearly 100 million consumers shopping at local businesses. With even more shoppers expected this year it’s time for business owners to jump on the bandwagon.
If you haven’t figured out your Small Business Saturday gameplan yet don’t panic. Thanks to tools like social media it’s not too late to get the word out about your deals and invite customers to stop by this Saturday. You can also integrate your social accounts into your promotions. For example, you can advertise special code words or offer discounts to guests who can prove they follow you or “like” your page. One of the best ways to facilitate this and have your customers spread the word at the same time is to have them “check in” at your business in exchange for a discount or bonus gift.
Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to social media is the use of hashtags. The official Small Business Saturday hashtag is #shopsmall. It’s possible that consumers in your area will be monitoring that tag and looking for small businesses they can support. By using the hashtag in your tweets or Instagram posts, you make it easier for them to find you and your business.
Of course you don’t just have to rely on your cyberspace friends to promote your business. You might consider partnering with other local businesses in your area to help push the holiday and offer joint deals of some sort. While it may be too late for this year, it may also be worth asking your chamber of commerce if they’d like to help promote the event in the coming years.
While all of the aforementioned tips are certainly important, job one is ensuring that your customers have a great experience at your business on Small Business Saturday. Make sure you let your guests know that you appreciate them so they’ll feel encouraged to return without the prompting of American Express. Let’s face it: there are some things that small businesses can do that the big guys just can’t; show your customers the difference a personal touch can make.
Small Business Saturday is not just a chance to get a slice of a quickly growing pie but a way to gain new loyal customers for your business. However you choose to participate, make sure that you’re plan is thoughtful and does the most to promote your business and make you a profit. Here’s to a great Small Business Saturday and a prosperous new year.