Halloween has passed and the holiday season is in full swing. While there are many opportunities to promote your business this holiday season, one of the more unconventional ways is through the Small Business Saturday event hosted the Saturday after Thanksgiving (it falls on November 26th this year).
While Black Friday is a day for big-box retail stores to thrive and Cyber Monday is focused on online retailers, Small Business Saturday, which made its debut in 2010, encourages consumers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.
The U.S. Small Business Association reported that 28 million small businesses account for 54% of U.S. sales. So, small businesses actually mean BIG business to our economy, as they help shape communities throughout the country.
The fourth annual Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, released by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and American Express, reported that 55% of U.S. consumers are aware of Small Business Saturday. Even more exciting is that 83% of U.S. consumers said that Small Business Saturday encourages them to Shop Small year-round1.
Last year, over 95 million consumers shopped at local businesses on Small Business Saturday, spending over $16.2 billion dollars2. This year, Small Business owners are hoping to see that number rise.
With so many small local merchants struggling to compete against bigger businesses year-round, the hope is that this annual event will gain momentum and can help accelerate Q4 sales through the holiday season.
There are numerous ways for small businesses to promote their business through this event, as well as through the holiday season.
Below are a few suggestions:
- Become an American Express Neighborhood Champion
- Run ads with in-store promotions to drive visits on November 26th
- Reach prospects via email marketing with promotions for November 26th
- Run a special promotion on your monthly new mover gift certificate
- If your business is located in a mall or shopping area, station an employee outside to give away free samples of your product or service to people passing by
- Join forces with other small business owners in your area and in your local new mover package and hold a weekend “sidewalk sale”
- Give shoppers the luxury of getting a free foot or shoulder rub if they buy something on November 26th
- Provide entertainment. Hire musicians to play in your store/restaurant, or outside of it to attract customers in.
Something small business owners should consider is that Millennials are actually the #1 group planning to shop at small businesses on Small Business Saturday3.
As many people know, Millennials seek uniqueness and individuality. In order to successfully reach this audience, small business owners should emphasize what makes their store distinct.
Aside from the obvious warm welcome and great customer service that is needed to keep any customer happy, rare, one-of-a-kind products and gifts should be put on display for this age group. Personalized gifts and products featuring inspirational messages are extremely popular amongst Millennials. So, small business owners are urged to meet these criteria in order to boost Small Business Saturday sales.
1Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey; 2Business Wire; 3SalesFuel