On last year’s Small Business Saturday, over 100 million shoppers spent around $18 billion with local businesses. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, that takes Small Business Saturday spending to around $100 billion since American Express launched the campaign back in 2010.
If that sounds like something, your business wants to be a part of, this year’s initiative takes place on November 30. Now is the time to start preparing, so let’s take a look at what it’s all about and how you can become part of this success story.
Around 244 million Americans have social media accounts. That’s three-quarters of the population. There’s never been a platform like it for reaching out to your customers, so start getting active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram now.
How Small Business Saturday Campaign began
Since the 1980s, Black Friday has been a phenomenon anticipated eagerly by both shoppers and retailers. For the former, signals the start of the holiday season. For businesses, it’s an opportunity to draw a line under any disappointing sales figures and get back into the black.
By 2010, though, the traditional images of crowded shopping centers and families bustling from one store to the next weighed down with bags were changing. Ecommerce in general and Amazon, in particular, were starting to gather pace, and local stores were beginning to feel the pinch. American Express launched Small Business Saturday in a bid to encourage the consumer to re-engage with their local retailers and remember what the holiday shopping season is all about.
The concept caught on right away and has gained momentum with every passing year. Consumer surveys indicate that while more than half of shoppers plan do make most of their purchases online, almost three quarters are aware of Small Business Saturday. So how will you tempt those in your community to stop by and browse your shelves on November 30?
Spread the word!
The Small Business Saturday campaign is an initiative that always strikes a chord. Supporting businesses in the local community is not a “hard sell,” and it’s something consumers are naturally open to. All you have to do is spread the word. Of course, you can get some posters or signs made up to display in your physical store. But to get the message across, cyberspace can be your most significant friend.
Around 244 million Americans have social media accounts. That’s three-quarters of the population. There’s never been a platform like it for reaching out to your customers, so start getting active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram now. However, contrary to what you might think, social media communication is not replacing email or making it obsolete. Email marketing remains the most powerful tool for reaching out to customers online.
What to say
Understanding the ways of reaching out is one thing. Deciding what to say is quite another. Many local businesses choose to offer special promotions, and if you want to do the same, that’s fine. But remember this is a day that is all about differentiating small businesses from the global retail giants. There’s more to it than trying to beat them at their own game by offering 20 percent discounts and the like.
Naturally, you need to promote your products, but also promote the business itself. It is part of the local community and has a unique story, so don’t be afraid to share it. Open up and help your customers understand who you are and what your business is all about. We all love a story and want to be entertained!
The most significant factor that has made Small Business Saturday such a success is that all these small businesses have come together to drive a movement that has become a national and even an international phenomenon. Business associations, Chambers of Commerce, Neighborhood Champions, and the Small Business Coalition have all played their role.
Keep that in mind in the run-up to this year’s Small Business Saturday. Promote the campaign by collaborating with business neighbors to make this year the best. There’s no need to launch an all-out street fair, but some coordinated displays and perhaps some friendly rivalry to see whose shop front is the most festive will attract more foot traffic and engage the local community.
Have an epic Small Business Saturday, and remember to support your fellow small businesses, too!