Nestled between the chaos of Black Friday and the convenience of Cyber Monday is an often-overlooked but all-important shopping event of its own: Small Business Saturday. On this day, customers have a limited amount of time to hit as many local shops as possible, making the most out of the unbeatable deals. As a small business owner, you want to stand out amongst your competitors and make the most out of this opportunity - but how?
We’re kicking it off with the most obvious way to get customers lined up outside of your door: advertising! Send out an email sequence. Print flyers. Create a Facebook event and invite everyone on your friends’ list (and make sure they invite their friends, too). You can’t have a successful Small Business Saturday if nobody knows you’re participating, right?
To create the same kind of hype as Black Friday, open your doors an hour or two early; and, if possible, close a little later, too. If you’re not at the top of a customer’s list of places to hit on Small Business Saturday, there’s a good chance that they’ll still swing by if they know you’re open a little later. Check out the hours advertised for other local businesses and use this as a reference guide when planning your day. If you do change your hours for the occasion, make sure your potential customers know.
What could possibly get people out of bed at crazy hours, only to wait in long lines and wade through huge crowds? The prospect of serious savings, of course. Offer incentives that are too good to pass up. Maybe the first five people in line get half off of their entire purchase; maybe every paying customer is entered into a drawing to win a big prize. You could even offer a small discount to anyone who stops by, only good for their next visit. It’s a great opportunity to attract new customers and gives returning customers an excuse to come back.
Now that we’ve covered incentives and advertising, why not combine the two? Encourage your customers to check in on Facebook whenever they stop by; if they do it, they can show the employee at the register in exchange for a small discount. It’ll spread the word even more, and hopefully bring in more people. Your customers will love it, too - who doesn’t appreciate an extra discount?
In the spirit of the holidays, stand out amongst your competitors by giving back to the community. Choose to donate a percentage of sales to a local charity or shelter - and be sure to advertise it, too. It will motivate your more philanthropic customers to come shop, and it will set a standard for other small business owners, encouraging them to give back as well. Locals will also be more willing to support you in the future. You’ll be serving a greater purpose and improving your image in the meantime.
Turning Small Business Saturday into an event is a great way to stand out amongst your competitors. You can set up a mimosa or hot chocolate bar for anyone who comes by, or hire a Santa impersonator for an early Christmas photo-op. You can even team up with other local business owners and arrange a huge scavenger hunt, advertising a big prize for the winner(s). Part of the fun in holiday shopping is the experience, so make it a fun one!