2018 Small Business Saturday Survival Guide

Small Business Saturday is this Saturday, November 24th. Are you ready? This annual event is growing in popularity. Ensure you take advantage of every opportunity to sell to and connect with your customer base with these valuable tips.

1. Do Your Customer Research

Understanding your customers and their shopping habits will help you be more responsive to their needs. This adds value to their shopping experience and maximizes selling opportunities. Know your demographics, how they purchase and how much they plan to spend during the holiday season. For example, a 2016 study revealed that half of U.S. consumers who shop local businesses do so in support of the Buy Local movement.

2. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users

Convenience is a driving factor for many consumers. Research shows that holiday shoppers will use their smartphones to place 46% of all orders. And when shoppers between 18 and 44 are in your store, 83% of them are still using their smartphones. Ensure your website captures sales from these users on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season.

3. Embrace Mobile Payment Options

Mobile is about more than shopping – it’s also how many consumers choose to pay for their purchases, even in-store. 24% of young consumers are prepared to use mobile payments when shopping in brick-and-mortar stores this holiday season. This option also speeds up the POP experience, which supports more sales.

4. Support a Local Charity/Cause

Local charities and causes can use your support, and aligning your business with area non-profits is an excellent way to build your brand and establish relationships with the people in your community. The holiday season is optimum for launching or expanding on these efforts.

5. Use Social Media

Your social media platforms can you help you get the word out on your plans for Small Business Saturday promotions and specials. Ad buys are one option, but you can also spread your message to followers with simple posts and updates. Clever advertising may even earn you some retweets and shares.

6. Deliver on the In-Person Shopping Experience

Your brick-and-mortar store has a big advantage over eCommerce – the physical experience. Shoppers can touch, try-on, try-out and engage with your products. Make the most of that.

7. Offer In-Store Pickup

The holidays are a busy season. Some of your target customers won’t have the time to come shop in your store on Small Business Saturday. But they can still take advantage of your sales and specials if you give them an in-store pick-up option. This ties in with #2 – mobile shopping. It’s also another opportunity to show your customers that you’re responsive to their needs.

8. Advertise Wisely

Make the most of this big day with targeted advertising. Highlight Small Business Saturday in your ads and appeal to consumer desire to support small businesses and local shops. Don’t forget social media — these hashtags can help on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram: #SmallBusinessSaturday, #SmallBizSat, #ShopSmall, #DineSmall.

9. Reward Loyal Customers

Send emails to your established customers offering them special deals or discounts for supporting your business or add the offer to current shoppers on their sales receipts. Don’t make it contingent on shopping in your establishment on Small Business Saturday. It’s a reward for patronizing your business. Extend the offer a week out past that Saturday.

10. Prep Your Sales Team

Make sure your customers have an enjoyable shopping experience – give your sales staff the tools they need to provide exemplary customer service. Hold a special meeting to educate your team about the products you’re highlighting and any promotions you’re offering. Encourage questions and feedback to maximize the effectiveness of this exercise, and staff appropriately on the big day.

11. Partner with Other Businesses

Small Business Saturday is your chance to support local businesses, too. Considering teaming up with other area stores or service providers to offer your customers extra value and give them even more reason to purchase locally.

12. Create Special-Edition Packages

Commemorate this day with unique offerings tailored to your customer base. Put together special packages of your products or services that provide added value. This is a chance to show established customers and prospective buyers what makes your business special.

13. Get Organized

Don’t forget the logistics. It’s fun to brainstorm and create specials and ads for this small business extravaganza. But, preparation, organization and dedication are key to the success of any of your efforts this month. Get back to the basics. Identify your goals. Outline your strategies and make lists for the tasks you need to complete to be successful.

14. Remember Foot Traffic

With all the emphasis on mobile use and internet shopping, it’s easy to forget offline consumers. They exist, and you can attract them with flyers and posters to inform shoppers in your community of your products, services and unique offerings. Creative window displays can bring customers in the door, too. Tap your staff to design these displays – they know your customers best.

15. Connect Your Online and Brick-and-Mortar Presence

This holiday sales event is meant to help small businesses both on and offline. It’s a mobile world, and a lot of retail sales are now conducted online. Don’t leave money on the table by ignoring your online presence – but be sure to present a cohesive shopping experience by connecting your physical offerings with your online promotions. Don’t forget your social media platforms. Stock appropriately.

Bonus Tip

Small Business Saturday is about more than increasing your sales during the holiday season. It’s a valuable opportunity to build customer loyalty that will hold you in good stead year-round. Keep that in mind while planning your sales strategies this November. How can you make this the best experience possible for your customers?

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