Plan Early for Small Business Saturday

Get ready for Small Business Saturday! Local businesses have been hit hard, but they are fighting to make a comeback. Due to the pandemic, many things have changed since last year. However, customers who appreciate quality and service are still willing to take extra measures to support small businesses. The idea that we’re all in this thing together continues to ring true.

November 28, two days after Thanksgiving, is an important day for local businesses who want to kick-off the selling season on a high note. The popular “holiday” has been recognized by the Small Business Administration (SBA), Congress, and business organizations throughout the nation.

Since the day was established ten years ago by American Express, the number of shoppers and sales volume has steadily grown. In 2019, sales were $19.6 billion, 10 percent higher than the previous year. One of the more popular slogans that resonate with shoppers is “Think Small.” It recognizes the importance of small businesses and reminds customers to shop locally for gifts and holiday purchases.

  • 88 million consumers “shopped small” in 2019
  • 77 million shoppers are inspired to “shop small” throughout the year
  • 66 million consumers support small businesses because they contribute to the community

Big Boxes Change Plans for Holiday Season
For years, chains such as Walmart, Target, and Best Buy have been open on Thanksgiving Day. They will be closed this year, partially due to the health and social impact of the pandemic. Walmart has been open on the holiday for the past 30 years. However, critics and labor leaders have argued for years that workers should be home with their families. John Furner, CEO of Walmart U.S., said, “We know this has been a trying year, and our associates have stepped up. We hope they will enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day at home with their loved ones.”

Holiday shopping can still be fun; you just might need to adjust your approach this holiday season.

Rather than focusing on attracting crowds of shoppers, big box stores plan to offer special online deals for extended periods, and popular products at sharply discounted prices. This change is a way to exercise caution during the pandemic and avoid the need to manage long lines on Black Friday and other big sale days. Since small businesses typically have a steady flow of customers, rather than consistent large crowds, using the safeguards recommended by the Center for Disease Control on Small Business Saturday will help customers feel safe while shopping.

Get Ready, Get Set, Now Go! Look at your store through the eyes of the customer. Are the shelves well-stocked? Do the endcaps look appealing? Is everything organized and free of clutter? These are a few areas that may require attention before you tackle the other things on your “to-do” list.

  • Schedule enough staff to manage customers easily
  • Add popular products and Small Business Saturday information on your website
  • Team up with other business to make the day a community event
  • Reach out to customers via social media, text, and e-mail
  • Remind customers to save-the-date

Use Free Promotional Resources
Take advantage of all of the available resources to make the day a success; business owners should develop a plan and get an early start. Small Business Saturday is less than two months away; this is the time to check into free resources and marketing materials. Some of the materials available online through American Express include:

  • Custom flyers
  • Social media assets
  • “How to” instructions for hosting events
  • Pop up markets and food festivals

Refer to the following websites for additional resources that can make the day a success.
www.americanexpress.com>shopsmall>studio

www.facebook.com>smallbusinesssaturday

www.sba.gov/smallbusinesssaturday

www.standforsmall.com

There may also be an opportunity to partner with other businesses in the community. If you have a limited amount of space in your store, consider moving the event outdoors. Serving hot chocolate or hot apple cider with holiday cookies in front of your business creates a festive mood.

Connect with Local Organizations
To save time, go online and check with the local Chamber of Commerce to determine how they plan to promote the day. This information is typically found in the news and events section. Another Participating in Small Business Saturday may seem like a lot of prep work for a single day. Still, the financial benefits to your store and the local economy are worth the effort.

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