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The Surprising Small Business Saturday Shoppers You Should Target



According to a recent survey, targeting millennials on Small Business Saturday is a good bet as they are the number one group planning to shop on that day.

If you own a retail store, I’m sure you’re already planning your marketing approach for Small Business Saturday, which falls on November 26 this year. But one thing you may not have planned for: Millennials are actually the number-one group planning to shop independent businesses on Small Business Saturday, according to a recent report by SalesFuel. How can you reach out to this vital demographic?

First, a quick look at Small Business Saturday shopping behavior in general. According to the survey, last year 23 percent of U.S. adults shopped at a locally owned business on Small Business Saturday. However, that’s substantially lower than the 33.6 percent who made a purchase online last Cyber Monday.

Here’s the good news: More than half (54.8 percent) of Cyber Monday shoppers said they would rather shop at a small, independent business as long as price and product quality are similar.

Millennials aged 25 to 34 make up the single largest segment of Small Business Saturday shoppers (24.9 percent, to be exact). Here are 5 steps you can take to make sure they come into your store on November 28.

Targeting Millennials on Small Business Saturday

1. Start now. More than half of last year’s Small Business Saturday shoppers also shopped at brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday. This behavior means they might be tapped out and less motivated to shop on Small Business Saturday. To avoid this, create a marketing plan that includes consistent outreach from now until Small Business Saturday.

2. Make it mobile. Of course, Millennial Small Business Saturday shoppers will be turning to their smartphones to locate local stores, find product information and reviews, and compare prices. Be sure customers can access free Wi-Fi in your store so they can use their phones there (set it up on a separate network from your business network for security reasons). Also make sure your email marketing messages are mobile friendly and that any hyperlinks in these emails go to mobile-friendly landing pages on your website. Finally, consider using mobile smartphone application ads or text message marketing. More than one-third (35.9 percent) of Millennials in the study say they took action based on such advertising in the past 30 days.

3. Give your business website and local search presence a going-over. Your store should be listed on local search directories; check to be sure that the information listed there and on your business website is complete and accurate. In particular, your store’s address, hours and phone number should be easy to find. If you have special holiday hours, keep them updated or post a list of daily hours throughout the holiday season.

4. Be social. It shouldn’t be surprising that Millennials are 57 percent more likely than the average shopper to take action based on an ad on a social network. Getting attention with organic Facebook posts has become more difficult, but Facebook advertising is quite affordable and effective. You can set a budget, monitor results and target your advertising very narrowly to people within your local community. Pair your Facebook advertising with a strong presence on Instagram, and you’ll have a one-two punch that will put you top of mind with Millennials.

5. Send the right message. Millennials crave the unique and individual. Your marketing messages should emphasize what makes your store stand out from big-box retailers. In addition to personal service and a friendly greeting, one-of-a-kind products, a carefully curated selection of items and gifts that can be customized or personalized will all appeal to this age group. Entice them to your store with gifts that they’ll be proud to give.

Small Business Saturday Photo via Shutterstock

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Rieva Lesonsky


Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow her on Google+ and visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

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