In 2014, Small Business Saturday generated $14.3 billion in consumer spending. This year’s event, which falls on Nov. 28, promises to be an even bigger cash generator for independently owned businesses across the country, but only if owners are able to harness the buzz generated by the nationwide campaign. Here are 10 tips on how to make the most out of the first Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Create A Small Business Saturday Event For Your Store
In the past, some companies have offered Black Friday like discounts on their products and services to drive traffic. Others have found success by setting up SBS-related giveaways. There’s no one strategy that will work for every business, but for the promotion to have any impact on your bottom line, you need to do something special to draw in shoppers.
Promote The Event With In-Storage Signage
In the run-up to SBS, you should have displays promoting the event all over your store. You don’t need to advertise what your business will be doing on SBS necessarily, but it’s of the utmost importance that your customers know that your company will be a participating location.
As this Entrepreneur piece points out, having enough staff on hand to handle SBS traffic is critical to your success. Holiday shoppers won’t spend a lot of time in your store if the checkout process takes forever or if there’s no help available on the sales floor.
Build Awareness Online
Although SBS was conceived as a response to the success online retailers found with Cyber Monday, you should definitely push the event online using your store’s website, email and social media feeds. You should also make sure your online promotional material is crafted for maximum shareability.
Create Bundle Packages
The Small Business Development Center has an excellent suggestion for SBS merchandising. Having a few different discount bundles on hand is a good idea because customers who dislike browsing can just grab one and go.
Take Advantage Of Free SBS Marketing Tools
Both Facebook and SBS founder AMEX have prepared special marketing tools for the event. Small business owners can get free marketing materials, online advertising and branded swag just for signing up.
Team Up With Other Local Small Businesses
Working with other local small businesses to cross promote your SBS efforts will maximize the profit potential for all participants. One example of how to do this would be for each store in the cooperative to carry each other’s flyers on the run up to the big day.
Changing Your Hours
Changing your hours for the event is a smart tactic because it builds urgency. If customers believe that quantities are limited on your doorbuster items, they’ll want to show up early in order to take advantage of the best deals.
Generate Return Business
As well as offering special discounts on the day, have some coupons for future savings on hand. Giving out buy-one-get-one 50 percent off coupons that aren’t valid until the middle of January will improve your chances of turning one time buyers into regular shoppers.
Pay It Forward
Consider donating a portion of your store’s SBS sales to charity or offering customers a special discount if they make an in-store charitable donation. In addition to showing off your company’s dedication to the community, it’s a gesture that will resonate with millennial shoppers.
Mario McKellop is a freelance writer who has covered the pop culture beat since 2010.