The countdown is on: only three weeks until the biggest small-business shopping day of the year. Saturday, Nov. 24 marks the third anniversary of Small Business Saturday and entrepreneurs all over the country are gearing up for a holiday expected to break last year’s record of 100 million people spending money at independently owned businesses.
Here are three ways to prep your storefront for the big day.
Embrace a Trend
Last year when Robyn Dochterman was looking for a way to bring people into her shop, she searched "storefront decorating trends" on YouTube and found several links to products dubbed "snowfall lights"—tubes of LED lights that fire sequentially.
“It looks like what you see when a snowfall gets caught in headlights,” says Dochterman, owner of St. Croix Chocolate Company in Marine on St. Croix, Minn.
She hung 60 tubes of lights from a tree outside her store and almost immediately began welcoming a slew of new customers.
“Those lights created so much awareness in our little town that they resulted in a 25 percent increase in direct sales; I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “I really recommend small business owners search for the latest trends on how to decorate. It worked for us.”
Make It Flashy
Grab a flat screen TV from your home or business and place it in your storefront. Then connect your computer to the screen and create a text-based screen saver advertising your latest sale in a bright, easy-to-read font. For added pizzazz, border your television with a few strips of tape-backed LED lights.
This idea comes from Tamara Romeo, founder of San Diego Design, and is similar to what she did for a local mortgage lender client. She hired a video production company to create an image-heavy video showing two people talking about getting a free mortgage quote in less than two minutes then lined the television with LED lights.
“The company is next to a highly trafficked restaurant; it was an effective way to bring people in while they waited for their table,” she says.
Here’s a tip: use the screen saver text to advertise a Small Business Saturday sale or a new product available around the holidays.
Project an Image
Have you ever been to a wedding where the bride and groom’s initials are projected on the dance floor? Romeo recommends taking this idea and applying it to the ground right outside your storefront window. Just attach a flood light to a nearby tree (with approval from your local municipality) with a custom die-cut design of your logo.
“Contact a local wedding planner or popular reception venue and ask them for information on the projection company they use,” suggests Romeo. “Make the image your logo or store name, not a long message. It should be just enough for people to stop and want to know more.”
What storefront decorating tips would you add to this list?