It’s here! The holiday shopping season is upon us, and despite the planning and anticipation, it’s possible that a few opportunities might not have made it onto your radar. Here’s one you don’t want to miss: Small Business Saturday. Shoppers are encouraged to patronize small businesses on Saturday, November 30, and that means you have the chance to capture your share of this excitement. Even if you haven’t planned ahead, you can still cash in.
For All Businesses
1. Sign up. Whether you’re a physical store or an online retailer, your first order of business is registering with American Express to use its Small Business Saturday System. Go to the website, click on “Join In” at the top, then select “Promote Your Business.” Click on the "Get Started Now" button, and you’re on your way.
It only takes a few minutes to register, and the best part of the process is that you can create signs promoting Small Business Saturday that the website formats for you and then emails you as signs you can post in your store—whether that store is real or virtual. When consumers see the logo, they’re more likely to trust your store with their business.
2. Give your customers a purpose. Consumers want to belong, and Small Business Saturday gives consumers something to support that makes them feel good. Put signs everywhere reminding customers that you’re a small business, and their purchases matter to you. Put a sandwich board out front; use chalk on the sidewalk; do everything you can to remind shoppers that November 30 is about patronizing local, small businesses.
3. Promote "Shop Small." Shop Small is the slogan for this event, and American Express has invested in TV ads, and the slogan has been prominently featured online as well. Consumers will recognize the tagline, and you can include Shop Small on your signs and ads.
4. Set up a display at the cash register. Impulse purchases add up to big dollars, and reminders like “Don’t forget a gift for yourself,” can increase your average sale by a bunch! Put baskets of fun, low dollar (ideally, high-profit) items by the register and watch your sales add up.
5. Give a gift. One of the best ways to reward your customers is with a gift! Set a dollar amount—say $250—and reward customers who spend at least that amount with a $25 gift card. You’re providing them with an incentive to spend more, and you’re giving them a reason to come back. People love free stuff.
6. Do a "One-Day-Only" promotion. Give your customers a reason to shop with you on Small Business Saturday by providing your best deal or deepest discount of the year. A one-day-only special price will increase your sales.
For Online Small Businesses
7. Put up Shop Small badges on your store. Your virtual customers may not even realize you’re a small business since they’re not in a physical store. Proudly identify yourself as a participant in Small Business Saturday.
8. Write a Small Business Saturday blog post. Even if you just spend a few minutes, providing fresh content with the buzzwords that consumers will be searching for will put your business higher up on search engine results. Include the words “Shop Small” and words that identify your special niches. Whether you mention brand names of the bicycles you sell or the most popular artisan candies that consumers love, writing a blog post will help customers find you.
9. Set up an online coupon. Create an online coupon and use—you guessed it—Shop Small or some variation of Small Business Saturday as your coupon code. SBSfreeship or ShopSmall20 to offer free shipping or 20 percent off will do the trick.
10. Offer a special deal. Just like the retail stores, offer a special one-day-only deal. You may even post a countdown that ticks off time until the deal is over. Give customers a reason to buy today!
11. Leverage social media. Post your specials on Facebook and Google+, and tweet your deal with #ShopSmall and #SmallBusinessSaturday. Help customers find you and your special promotions.
Small Business Saturday can yield a monster day of sales, provided that you take a few steps to capitalize on the promotion.
Read more articles on Small Business Saturday.
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