Small Business Saturday is a perfect opportunity to boost holiday sales. Last year, 112 million consumers reported “shopping small” on Small Business Saturday, spending $15.4 billion. But have you considered the day as a way to improve business operations and set the stage for year-long success? Here are 11 ironclad ideas to make the most of Small Business Saturday and beyond.
Use “How to” Training to Ensure Great Customer Service
For customer-facing businesses, it’s all about making a lasting impression, so preparation in advance of a busy holiday is key.
Hold a meeting to prepare your team for Small Business Saturday:
- Role play using “how-to’s.” Show your staff how to greet customers and respond to questions. Remind them to prompt customers to sign up for email updates and cross-sell special offerings.
- Lavish positive feedback. It increases confidence which carries over throughout the year.
A well-trained team will provide the kind of superb service and hospitality we want from all of our vendors.
Remind People About Small Business Saturday
Research shows shoppers want to support small businesses, with 94% saying shopping local is important. But with our hectic lives, they may forget it’s Small Business Saturday.
Thank Customers for Last Year’s Small Business Saturday
Send out handwritten cards or personalized emails highlighting your business’ success last year. Thank customers for their support. They will feel invested in your success and more likely to support you this year.
Make it a Truly Memorable Experience
Branded experiences are becoming an increasingly important part of the marketing mix. In-real-life experiences not only set brands apart and add personality, they give brands the opportunity to make direct, meaningful connections with consumers and ultimately drive loyalty. Research shows that the more personalized an event or experience, the more effective can be.
Align your company’s branding, mission and values with added experiential elements for your Small Business Saturday festivities. Consider adding art, entertainment or food elements.
Introduce Special-Edition Products
Nothing prompts purchases like a feeling of exclusivity. Release special edition products available only for a limited time. If possible, include a keepsake, such as a reusable branded coffee mug. Or, add a printed tag that doubles as a schedule of local sporting events.
Partner with Neighboring Businesses
Co-marketing is a proven technique for brick-and-mortar businesses. This works all year long and for service companies, too. Exchange signage or hand out coupons from partner businesses. Try organizing a scavenger hunt with several other local businesses.
Run a Flash Sale
Small Business Saturday is an opportune time for flash sales — a short sale, for one day or less. Flash sales are excellent tools to excite and reward your customers, encourage them to come back to your website or store more often, and generate sales.
Wicked Good Cupcakes has employed this tip with much success. Known for their appearance and investment on ABC’s Shark TankTM, the mother-daughter duo of Tracey Noonan and Dani Vilagie turned a pastime into a multimillion-dollar ecommerce baking and gifting company.
Flash sales can bump up sales by 10% or more for the day, according to Noonan’s experience. She says, “We run flash sales often, usually before or after the holidays. We’ve seen up to 100% increase in traffic with 100% conversation to sale rates when running these campaigns.”
Leverage Affiliate Sales
Wicked Good Cupcakes uses affiliates, such as online entrepreneurs or influencers who love the products, to spread the word.
Noonan says, “We do a lot of work with affiliates and influencers who align with our brand. We provide discount codes that they can offer to their followers, especially around shopping holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.”
“Organization is really key,” Noonan says. “You need systems in place. That doesn’t necessarily mean everything needs to be automated, but you need to be organized and find the quickest and most efficient ways to get work done, especially if you have any type of mail-order business.”
Replenishing supplies in advance, having enough cash register tape, printer ink, and packing supplies — and making sure everyone knows where to find them — are key tactics to have in place not only on Small Business Saturday, but every day.
Encourage Ordering Online
Noonan says, “Our products are perishable, so it’s not like people can go to our retail location, buy cupcakes and then hang onto them until it’s time to give them as gifts. Ordering online might be a better option so people can order ahead and get items when they actually want them, while still getting the opportunity to support small businesses and take advantage of holiday promotions.”
Use Small Business Saturday as the Start, Not the End
Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity to set the stage for year-long marketing among new and existing customers.
To entice customers to return to your store beyond Small Business Saturday, print out coupons and stash in shopping bags for customers to redeem later, offer a raffle for merchandise, and capture emails to offer to exclusive discounts throughout the year.
Seafood Seller Photo via Shutterstock