20 Tips to Safely Celebrate Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday in 2020 is going to look a little different, but your small business can still take advantage of what it has to offer.

These tips will show you how you can get involved, prepare, and keep the momentum after the day is over. Make sure to read all 20 tips so you can make the most Small Business Saturday for your business.

Basics

1. Get Web Ready

It may be easy to forget the simple stuff, but it’s important to double check all your info. Make sure your address and contact info are accurate and consistent across your online platforms, including your website and social media profiles. Verify that your links are landing on the correct pages. De-bug any issues you find so your customers won’t have any reason to leave your page.
Check your website as if you were a customer and find any navigations, products, displays, and payment pages that aren’t working the way they should. If you’re running a promotion, make sure it’s the first thing your customer sees when entering the site.
Finally, it’s important to verify that your website is mobile friendly. Business Insider Intelligence forecasts that m-commerce will account for 45% of the total US e-commerce market by the end of 2020. Make sure your online experience is just as user-friendly as in-store.

2. Use American Express’ Resources

American Express has a multitude of resources for your small business to prep for, and find, small businesses nationwide. They want to bring attention to small businesses within your local community in an effort to not only help you through the holidays, but for the next years to come. Their site can help make sure you’re on the Shop Small ® map, download marketing materials, get involved in your community, find resources, and join business classes. The current climate may be difficult to navigate, but there are resources available that Stand for Small, and you should be taking advantage of them for your business.

3. Prioritize Customer Service

We know that times have changed and online shopping has grown, but your customers still spend more in-store. As a small-business owner, that means your customer experience should still be a top priority. Give your staff the tools they need to solve problems and help customers on their own. Also, make sure to go over store safety protocols with your staff. We want your customers to have the same personalized, connected experience that has always set you apart from your competitors while staying six-feet apart.

4. Prep Your Inventory

Small Business Saturday is going to be a busy day for you; it’s important you have the products to last you the entire weekend. Consult your internal sales data to find out which products you sell the most. Also, check out what gets the most engagement on your social media. Chances are, those are going to be the first to sell out. Check out this list of the most popular things to buy local if you’re still not sure, but trust your past customer data and make sure to stock up.

5. Update In-Store COVID Safety Guidelines for Increased Traffic

The pandemic has already hit your small business with major challenges, but this weekend can help you get back on track in your community. That’s why it’s so important that your store is prepped for the increased traffic. Create a plan of action among your management and staff for how the day is going to be run. Safety measures are a must to ensure your customers and staff feel comfortable in your store. Clean and sanitize your store the night before and make sure to put measures in place to sanitize between customers. Make any necessary adjustments ahead of time to keep your weekend running as smoothly as possible.

6. Focus on Your Business’ Unique Sales Proposition – Avoid Direct Competition with Big Brands

This is a major national shopping weekend, but don’t let that tempt you into competing with big retailers. Slashing your prices in doorbuster deals can seem like a good idea at the time, but they’re not designed for your small business. Instead, focus on what makes your small business special. That can be your products or service, or the space you’ve created online or in-store for your customer. Whatever you focus on, make sure to communicate that to your customer.

7. Offer Your Services, Even if They’re Unrelated to Traditional Holiday Shopping

Your products or services may not fall under the traditional “holiday” umbrella, but that shouldn’t deter you from taking advantage of the weekend for your small business. In Irvine, even car washes and durable goods wholesalers are getting on the map for Small Business Saturday. Just by associating with the event, your company can benefit from some of the free marketing online and in local media. When in doubt, get your small business involved.

Promotions

8. Plan Socially Distanced Incentives

Give people a reason to visit your store. In 2016, a Michigan store hosted a giveaway of $5,000 to any customer who entered with a picture of their receipt. While your efforts don’t need to–and probably shouldn’t–be this grand, consider offering some kind of future deal to your customers. Not only does this encourage your customers to shop on the day, but it gives you the information you need to keep encouraging them to come back. Simple giveaways like product gift-baskets, free services and gift-cards are all great options. Find what best fits with your small business and what you think will bring your customers in the door to try and win.

9. Cross-Promote with Local Businesses

Small Business Saturday is all about supporting the local business community. Celebrating other businesses is a great way to show your support, and they’ll likely return the favor. You can also consider partnering with neighboring stores to give potential shoppers more of a reason to visit both of your shops. Consider reaching out to other participating stores with adjacent businesses. They won’t be in direct competition with you, but they do have a similar customer profile that you can both benefit from. Building relationships with other stores in your community will result in a mutually beneficial relationship that lasts past the weekend event.

10. Support Local Charities

Your customers are already hoping to contribute to their local community by shopping with you, so why not give back yourself? The motivation to shop at your store can only be increased by the knowledge that a portion of their sale would support local charity. Find a cause that speaks to you and announce that some percentage of Small Business Saturday sales will go to support them. The event is all about giving back, so pay special attention to those under-appreciated charities, or ones that you really connect with.

11. Create White Elephant Gift Guides

White elephant parties are some of the most fun holiday traditions. Your small business can create a gift guide by grouping your quirkiest items all in one place–on your website and in-store. Grouping them together makes your customer’s shopping experience easier and promoting them on your social media will help them get the visibility for those who need fun ideas.

12. Organize Holiday Party Kits

This season’s holiday party is going to look different, but your small business can provide items that your shoppers may need to host a virtual event. Kits could include supplies for decorating cookies, creating holiday cards, cooking ingredients for festive meals at home, and more. Take a creative look at your inventory and find what your customer could use for their Zoom holiday. Make sure to promote the kit in your store and online to take the guesswork away from your shopper.

13. Hold a Virtual Kickoff Event

Start off your customers’ day-long shopping with a virtual kick-off. Go live on your social media, invite your customers to a Zoom with you, or send out a video to your followers thanking them in advance for their support. You can also offer your existing customers and viewers a special discount or freebie to get them excited and more willing to shop.

Get connected

14. Start Your Social Media Campaign Now – Amplify Your Message

Your store has a story that should be shared. Use social media as the tool to share it. Your customers want to feel a connection to your brand and are much more likely to shop at the businesses they identify with. Document your business’ preparation and get your customers to cheer you on. Share images of your staff, your displays, and your customers enjoying their shopping experience. Make sure you to use Small Business Saturday hashtags to increase your store’s visibility: #SmallBusinessSaturday #SmallBizSat #ShopSmall #DineSmall.

15. Collect Shopper Data

Data is king and your business should use Small Business Saturday as a catalyst to get it. Gather information on staffing, sales, customer patterns, and customer information to make your next holiday season easier. You’ll be able to find out where you went right, and what you can improve upon in the future. Customer information will also help you get a deeper understanding of your market, improve your market strategies and create a more personalized, and continued, relationship with your shoppers. Encourage your customers to subscribe to newsletters, sign up for an email list, and follow your social media platforms to keep in touch and get access to potential deals and offers.

16. Join Online Groups

Especially now, people love to support small businesses like yours. There are tons of online groups that you can become a member of that only want to celebrate your ventures. Join sites like meetup.com and Facebook groups in your area to increase your business’s visibility and become part of the conversation around your community. They’re all free to join so start connecting with other motivated and supportive people.

17. Interact with Other Small Businesses

Just like partnering with nearby stores, interacting online is a great way to support and be supported by your community. Sharing their content is a great way to promote their business and chances are, they’ll return the favor for you. Not only does this help get your message in front of their audience, but it’s a great way to show your brand image.

18. Update Your Online Ads’ Keywords

Get your game plan ready to reach consumers through your ad campaigns. Update your PPC (pay per click) keywords to help your business reach the top of your customer’s searches. Your keyword should reflect your most up-to-date products, services, offers, promotions, and most importantly your location.

19. Reward Check-Ins and UGC

User-generated content will be your best friend for social media. Ask your customers to follow, share, and post their own content and experiences so you can show your own following. Let your customers support your business. It will help promote authenticity, build trust, and drive purchasing decisions. Your customers will love your appreciation and you’ll love the extra business.

Reminder

20. Think Beyond Saturday

Small Business Saturday is a great tool to boost your sales and drive traffic, but it shouldn’t stop after Saturday. Take a look at what works and what doesn’t and use some of your strategies to propel your business through the rest of the holiday season. Use the relationships you’ve created with your customers and partners to continue your success all year long.

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