As a retailer, you know that it can be hard for a small business to compete with the big guys. But that’s why the day after Black Friday is Small Business Saturday. Founded by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday gives small businesses and brick-and-mortar stores across the country a special boost to stand out and get shoppers’ attention. Since its founding, it’s been an influential opportunity to reconnect with customers — and boost sales. Last year, 112 million shoppers participated spending more than $15 billion.
Since the big day is just a few days away, it’s important to think strategically, find approaches to reach customers, and overall make the most of the special day. The following are some of the top ways to get you started.
Start on the Web Although you’re trying to get folks in the door of your brick and mortar location, start on the web – the place they will look for you first. Be sure contact info such as your address and phone number are correct. Be sure your social media profiles are up-to-date. You’d be surprised how many small businesses overlook these minor (yet big!) details.
Utilize Your Resources American Express is doing a lot of the hard work for you such as offering email templates, web badges, offering free signs, and posters so you can announce and market your location. There’s plenty of time for you to download many of these materials and get them customized for this weekend. If you think ahead for next year, you may be able to get spotlighted on the initiative’s Shop Small map.
Extend Your Business Hours If just for the weekend, extend your hours to accommodate your customers. Either open earlier or close later – or both so you can make the most of the foot traffic. Don’t forget to let customers know you’ve extended by hours by utilizing social media.
Make Customer Service a Priority All of your staff needs to be on their A-Game for this special day. If necessary, retrain your staff so they are ready to make the best impression possible. Your ability to connect with customers and create more personalized experiences can help you stand out amongst competitors. It may be helpful to role play with your staff by running through scenarios that might occur at your store during a busy weekend and give your staff the tools they need and the words to say to solve problems and help customers who might not have visited your store in a while.
Plan Incentives Give customers a good reason to come into your store this Saturday. Whether its free give-a-ways, raffles, discounts, or new products, consider what types of in-store incentives you want to use to promote the day, and your business.
Don’t compete with the Big Boxes This isn’t the time to try to compete with big box retail. Instead, be your unique self. Remember, the purpose of the day is to market your smaller, local business. Many of your customers are coming to you because they don’t want to shop at big box retail. You can, however, still offer “door busters” and similar marketing techniques to get people in the door.
Join Forces If there are other neighboring shops give shoppers a reason to visit everyone. If all the local shops are on the same page, it makes the day even more successful. When shoppers leave your store, encourage them to check out your neighbors.
Encourage Facebook Check-ins Encourage shoppers to check in and let their network know they are shopping at your store. You can do this by offering 10% off if they do the check-in while they are checking out. This is a great form of word of mouth marketing that is absolutely free.
Be Sure Your POS System is Up-to-Date Your customers are expecting a smooth and easy transaction – just like what they get at big box retail stores. If your POS system is slow or out of date, you run the risk of frustrating busy shoppers. If your system needs an update, give Dodson a call. We’re here to help make your Small Business Saturday a huge success!