18 Small Business Saturday Ideas & Tips

Posted on 23, March, 2020

Last Modified on 23, March, 2020

Much of the media attention around holiday shopping season is dedicated to Black Friday and more recently, Cyber Monday, as well. As soon as Thanksgiving ends, consumers turn their attention to holiday shopping.

Small Business Saturday was coined and trademarked by American Express in 2010 to encourage communities to promote locally owned businesses. Over 108 million shoppers spent $12.9 billion across the US in 2017 on Small Business Saturday at local, independently owned businesses. While that number is down, it is still significant business and an opportunity you want to take advantage of if you are a locally owned and operated establishment.

There are several avenues you can utilize to get your message and you should take advantage of all that are applicable to your business. Here are 18 tips for your company to use and remember on Small Business Saturday.

1.        Promote Early & Often: Black Friday ads are going to be circulating quickly and rapidly. While you’re not trying to compete on the level of businesses ramping up for Black Friday sales, there’s no reason to not start alerting customers that you will have deals going on during Small Business Saturday with Tabletop Banners at checkouts and strategically placed throughout your store.

2.       Be Proactive On Social Media & Online: Your online messaging is just as important as promoting your sales and business with in-store signage. Leverage social media as much as you can to spread the word and use the hashtag #SmallBusinessSaturday on Twitter to get your business involved in the conversation. This shopping holiday isn’t just supported by in-store shoppers. Many people prefer to shop online and they can still support locally owned businesses this way so it is important to make sure your customers know you’ll have deals online for them.

3.       Be Web Ready & Mobile Friendly: If you are going to be offering deals online for Small Business Saturday, make sure that your website is ready to handle the traffic. Create specific landing pages for deals, test that your promo codes work and check to make sure your site is mobile responsive, so you don’t lose customers who are shopping on their phone and other mobile devices.

4.       ‘Create’ a Pop Up Store: If your shop is small and may not be able to handle as much foot traffic as you’d like to receive, consider setting up a ‘pop up’ store. You can also do this if you only have an online presence, and not a typical brick-and-mortar small business. Utilize easy to use Custom Printed Table Throws and Table Header Banners with dye sublimated printed graphics to professionally set up a checkout area and front table to promote your location.

5.       Outdoor Pop Up Stores: Depending on the location and weather where your business is located, you may want to try to extend the reach of your business on this shopping day with an outdoor pop up store. Set up a Custom Printed Canopy Tent with Sidewalls for a full outdoor store experience and promotion.

6.       Have a Wrapping Station: If you have the space, offering a gift-wrapping service to your customers is an excellent personal touch for your business to have available to them on Small Business Saturday.

7.       Provide Welcoming Incentives: One of the things that most commonly can be alluring about supporting small, local businesses over large chains is their personal touch and caring about their customers. Something as small as offering an area for them to grab a free coffee or hot chocolate while they’re shopping or waiting in line to checkout can go a long way.

8.       Create Giveaways: Reward customers who make it a point to support your locally owned business, especially during the holiday shopping season. Giveaways as small as a movie or restaurant gift card are nice prizes for customers to use after a long day of shopping local.

9.       Make it an Event: Get customers excited to visit your business or shop as much as much as they are excited about the deals you’re offering by turning a trip to your business into an event. You could provide easy breakfast items such as donuts and bagels with coffee or go as big as bringing in a food truck and getting up a system to play Christmas music in the store to get in the holiday spirit. Be sure to promote it as an event by registering it locally on places like EventBrite and advertise it from your store with A-Frame Signs and Window Clings.

10.   Roll Out the ‘Red’ Carpet: If you’re going to make this shopping day an event for your business and shoppers, start with a custom greeting with a special, new Custom Printed Carpet floor mat with your logo and business name.

11.   Communicate Your Hours of Operation: Most small businesses stick to very specific hours of operations because of overhead and staffing. Some might try to extend hours during the holiday shopping season. Be sure to let people know about special hours with a changeable LED Message Board or Feather Flag.

12.   Team Up with Local Partners: If other local businesses are gearing up with deals on Small Business Saturday in your community, attempt to cross promote your deals with each other in the true spirit of this shopping ‘holiday.’ You can use compact displays like Letterboard Signs and Table Top X-Frame’s in-store to share this concept with shoppers. 

13. Leverage Your Email List: Begin sharing with customers early that they should be on the alert for deals on Small Business Saturday. Send that as an email to your current customer base list and encourage new shoppers to sign up for your emails with literature on Brochure Holders and on unique displays like Tabletop Chalkboards so that they can get alerts about what deals you’ll be offering.

14. Send Out Holiday Cards: It might be a little early to send out traditional holiday cards ahead of a day like Small Business Saturday, but if you can reach your customer base with a message about this sale, you should take the opportunity to do so. Whether or not you want to use this method before the day of the sale, send them a card later and thank them for shopping at your store throughout the year, including Small Business Saturday.

15. Incentivize Social Media and Mobile: You can further your businesses reach and details about your sales on social media. Get your customers to ‘Check-In’ on Facebook at your store or post about it on Twitter and Instagram. Provide discounts, promo codes or giveaways for customers willing to do this for your business. Utilize a Step and Repeat Banner for them to take pictures in front of when posting.

16. Don’t Compete with Big Box Stores: While you want to attract as much business as possible during this season, you shouldn’t try to mimic all the things bigger stores do. Small Business Saturday is a nice alternative shopping holiday that can come with as much business and fanfare without the large crowds, and unfriendly hours among other things. Focus on what makes locally owned businesses in the community a good thing to support.

17. Further Your Reach with Promotional Items: Send every customer home with something free that promotes your business, even if they don’t win some sort of contest with you. Custom Printed Magnets and Retractable Banner Pens are small, unique ways to keep your business name and information top of mind with your customers after they’ve left your store.

18. Prioritize Customer Service: Possibly the most important point and idea for a small business would be to make sure your customer service to your shoppers on Small Business Saturday creates a good experience for them. Train your staffers well and don’t understaff your store so you have enough people to help your customers and plan to give your staff members breaks during the busy shopping day.

Be sure to follow Post Up Stand on Facebook and Twitter for news, tips and special offers, including Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday!

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