American Express established Small Business Saturday to address a specific need for small business owners back in 2010. At the time, small businesses were struggling to get more customers. They needed help getting customers in their doors, increasing sales, and gaining community recognition.
Small Business Saturday was launched in support of local businesses and has become an annual holiday shopping tradition. In 2017, an estimated 108 million consumers reported shopping or dining at local, independently owned businesses on Small Business Saturday.
As Small Business Saturday heads into its ninth year, small businesses are gearing up to draw in new and existing customers alike and encourage those customers to #ShopSmall. How can your storefront stand out and attract great foot traffic in 2018? Get prepared now with these four tips.
Get the Word out With Customized Materials
American Express has a Shop Small Studio that is a great resource for small business owners prepping for Small Business Saturday. You can find free materials and resources via the Studio that can be used to promote your business, including:
- Custom posters, event flyers, save the date notices, and featured item signs.
- Website materials like site badges, email templates, and the Shop Small logo.
- Profile and cover photos for social media accounts along with prepped social media posts.
Each asset can be customized in less than two minutes with the name of your business, a fun fact about your company, its colors, location, and industry.
Conducting business en español? Ready-made materials are also available for businesses with Spanish-speaking customers. Voilà! You’re now prepared to start spreading the news that your business will be on this year’s Small Business Saturday circuit.
Host an Event
Give your customers something to anticipate before Small Business Saturday arrives. This year’s holiday falls on November 24 and American Express advises hosting an event before the special day to draw in customers and build awareness.
While we can’t tell you what the best type of event to host would be, we recommend drawing inspiration from what your business does and represents. You might want to host an open house, especially if you’re new to the neighborhood. Members of the community can do a walk-through of the space and learn more about your business and its offerings. You can also host a meet-and-greet with potential customers and give them more details about how you’re planning to participate in Small Business Saturday.
Already established in the community? Consider teaming up with other local businesses to host a group event. One of our favorite suggestions from American Express is hosting a pop-up market. Not only does this rally the neighborhood, but it’s also a great chance for physical mom-and-pop storefronts and local online shops to connect in real life.
Go Above and Beyond Your Typical Offerings
Sure, you want customers to buy what you’re selling on Small Business Saturday. That’s a great place to start, but why not take it a step further? Make it a day to remember by creating limited-edition offerings for consumers.
Do you own a restaurant? Add a Small Business Saturday-themed item to the menu or create a lunch deal specifically for the day. How about a winery? You might decide to hold a special tasting in honor of the holiday. Operating a retail storefront? Consider conducting a giveaway or giving out special Small Business Saturday-themed goodie bags with every purchase.
Bottom line? If 108 million consumers (or more!) are dining out and shopping at small businesses this year, this is your business’s chance to put itself on the map. Go beyond acting as a shopping destination and provide customers with a unique experience they won’t forget.
Encourage Consumers to #ShopSmall Year-Round
Statistics from the 2017 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey revealed that 84% of consumers who are aware of Small Business Saturday say that the holiday makes them want to #ShopSmall year-round. This is fantastic news for small businesses because it shows that consumers want to show up and shop beyond one specific day in the year.
Make it a point to encourage consumers to keep shopping small year-round. Create customized signage for physical storefronts that shows visitors your company is a Small Business Saturday participant, and offer promotions and incentives tailored to your customers’ shopping preferences.
Small Business Saturday presents an huge and unique opportunity for your small business. After all it’s literally a day dedicated to urging consumers to shop small. Make sure that you and your staff are as prepared as possible to make the most of the day and have a plan in place to turn any new customers into loyal, engaged regulars. Good luck!