Small Business Saturday is coming up on November 30! Is your business ready to take advantage of this shopping opportunity? Remember that customers go to small businesses not just to shop local, but also for the personal service that a “big box” store just can’t offer.
The U.S. Small Business Administration says that an estimated 108 million consumers nationwide “shopped small” on Small Business Saturday in 2017, spending a combined $15.4 billion at independent neighborhood retailers and restaurants. A few easy steps can help your business get the most out of this day.
Update your website and social media: Make sure all the basic information such as your physical location, telephone number and business hours are correct and prominently displayed, and include items such as promotions.
Offer special discounts and offers. Reward customers for shopping small by offering a discount, a free gift with purchase, complimentary gift wrapping or a store gift certificate that can be used towards a purchase at a later date.
Make the day a special occasion: Dress up your business with signs, banners and seasonal decorations, and if your budget allows, consider free food or live music.
Extend your hours: Make it easy for people by having extended hours. If possible, consider doing it for the entire shopping season. If you usually close at 6 p.m. on Saturdays, for example, stay open until 8 p.m. If you change your hours, make sure you update your website and social media accounts with the changes.
Don’t compete with the “big box” stores. Small businesses are selling an experience, a product wrapped in service. Try to focus on the in-store experience and other personal service that larger stores and online competitors can’t match. Your customers are coming to support small business and get the service a small business can offer.
Remove customer stress: Shopping at the holidays can be stressful. Make it easier for your customers:
o Provide free wrapping and reasonable shipping. If it’s within your budget and staffing ability, offer to wrap gifts for customers. If the gift is going to be shipped, consider offering shipping within reason.
Make Sure Your Staff Is Prepared:
o Have enough staff to do the job.
o Remember that one of the things you’re selling is service. Make certain that employees are knowledgeable not only of your products, but also any promotions or specials. Allow them to make on-the-spot decisions regarding customer situations that might arise.
o Incentivize the day for your staff. Find a way to reward staff, whether through increased commissions, a meal, or another reward for the work they’ve put in on a busy day.
Charity: In today’s culture, consumers like to see that their dollars also go to help others or do good in the world. You can do this in many ways, such as donating a percentage of net profits or asking customers to bring in a canned good for a discount in exchange.