Your niche category is well stocked, well merchandised and ready for customers to shop. Rather than just wait for customers to discover the department on their own, one of the best ways to get customers into the store is by hosting a store event. Around the holidays, Small Business Saturday is an excellent option to bring in customers thanks to its name recognition. This year, Small Business Saturday takes place on Nov. 27.
“In our opinion, Small Business Saturday has been phenomenally influential in the buy local and shop small movements,” says Bill Brunelle, co-founder of Independent We Stand (IWS). “I truly believe it has had a major impact on the retail world.”
IWS serves as a coalition partner for Small Business Saturday. The organization educates consumers on the vital economic role independent businesses play in communities and helps small businesses build their customer bases locally.
In the last year, American Express has expanded the promotion of Small Business Saturday beyond one day to a year-round affair.
“They have done amazing things to bring awareness to those little shops that needed it during the pandemic and beyond,” Brunelle says. “Now, it’s more than just one day. Small Business Saturday is still huge, but merchants can also go on the Shop Small website to find resources to promote shopping small businesses year-round.”
Brunelle offers several suggestions for ways retailers can prepare for Small Business Saturday. First, utilize the resources available on the Shop Small website. Business owners can find downloadable marketing campaigns, partner discounts and business resources. Retailers with social media accounts can use the #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat hashtags in posts leading up to the event.
Another way retailers can get involved is by becoming a Neighborhood Champion. These Neighborhood Champions serve as ambassadors for the Shop Small movement, bringing together small businesses in their communities and connecting consumers to local companies.
“I think this year will be more important than ever as shops start to reemerge after the pandemic,” Brunelle says. “I would highly recommend that every small independent retailer participate this year and share about this worthwhile event.”
5 More Ways to Prepare for Small Business Saturday
1). Download the NHPA and IWS Home Sweet Home toolkit with signage and social media posts you can use to promote shopping local.
2). Use social media to share with customers the different products you sell that would make great holiday gifts.
3). Shop and support other small businesses in your area like LaMoure Hardware in LaMoure, North Dakota does. The owners work with the local chamber of commerce and have created their own local small business movement.
4). From crafts to treats, offer your customers something extra during their holiday shopping experience.
5). Working during the holidays means long hours and extra stress. Show your employees some love too with words of encouragement, notes of appreciation and maybe a holiday bonus.