How to Successfully Prepare for Small Business Saturday

November is a big month for shopping. With the holiday season unofficially kicking off the moment Halloween decorations are put away, it’s no surprise, so many shoppers are feeling the itch. Blowout sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday get folks excited to spend, but Small Business Saturday can hold just as much appeal. The day nets billions of dollars in consumer spending each year, and the tradition gains popularity annually.

What is Small Business Saturday?

Before you start preparing for the big day, it’s important to know where and how Small Business Saturday got its start. In 2012, American Express launched the holiday to encourage shoppers to patronize their local mom and pop restaurants, shops, and businesses in lieu of bigger brands. $5.5 billion was spent on the first Small Business Saturday alone, and the holiday has only gained more traction since then.

How Does Small Business Saturday Work?

Celebrated the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday requires virtually nothing from independent business owners. Simply opening your doors, as usual, is enough! However, there is so much more you can do to truly capitalize on such a great opportunity. Some small businesses offer special discounts for shoppers, while others partner with their community to host events that attract foot traffic. While you certainly can go about your Saturday as usual, you don’t want to miss the chance to connect with existing customers while appealing to new ones.

Here’s how you can make the most of Small Business Saturday!

Preparing for Small Business Saturday

In order to best serve your customers for Small Business Saturday, be sure your shelves are stocked with the most in-demand products. The last thing you want is to entice folks to visit your storefront and disappoint them when looking for their favorite items. Besides stocking, you may also want to time your annual inventory review ahead of time. It’s a good time of year to understand what you have, what you’ve sold, and what you might not want to continue stocking.

If you’re a service-based type of company, make sure you’ve got all hands on deck and all the supplies you’ll need at your disposal. The last thing you want is for SBS to kick off and not have enough staff or materials to take care of all your customers. Providing great service in November will have a positive ripple effect on your organization through the rest of the year and beyond.

Remind Customers to Shop

November is a busy month, and the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas can feel especially harried. While Small Business Saturday might be headline news in your world, it may not even register with some of your customers. Share your plans for the day on social media, your blog, or anywhere else your customers might read up on your offerings. Advertise your specials on relevant platforms to reach your audience. Partner with other businesses in the area to cross-promote the big day. Reminding folks why it’s so important to patronize small businesses is never a bad idea and neither is letting them know that you’ll be a part of it!

Offer Thoughtful, Personal Perks

Small Business Saturday is your chance to remind customers why they should shop with you instead of big box stores. While you may not be able to match the insane sales offered by such companies on the other big shopping days around this time, you can beat them in the customer service department. Consider offering small, personalized incentives to draw customers in, like gift-wrapping or a portion of their purchase going towards a local charity. Do you have staff that visits your customers where they live? Tell customers that your representative will show up in a turkey costume! Any way you can add value to the experience of your customers is worth doing on Small Business Saturday.

Open Early, Close Late

This holiday comes but once a year – why stick to your routine hours of operation when there are sales to be made? This Small Business Saturday, consider opening your doors early and staying as late as your customers demand. Create special VIP shopping hours for your repeat customers to beat the crowds, or keep your store open late in conjunction with any community events that might encourage foot traffic past your doors. The profits from a single Saturday in November can have a serious impact on the health of your business, so why not take advantage of the day while you can?

Create an Atmosphere of Excitement

Small Business Saturday is great for enticing folks to come into your store, but in order to keep them coming back all year round, you’ll want to create a fun, exciting atmosphere. Consider hiring musicians to play live Christmas tunes, offer an in-store wine tasting, and set out snacks for folks to nosh on while they browse. Food, fun, and music are surefire ways to set the mood while encouraging folks to return time and time again.

Set Yourself Up for a Year of Success

One day in November does not a successful year make. In order to take full advantage of this holiday, consider the ways in which you’ll connect with shoppers the rest of the fiscal year. Collect email addresses, offer sales for those who like your page on Facebook, and enroll folks in your rewards program to ensure their visit isn’t a one-time thing. These kinds of promotions not only help build customer loyalty, but they also allow you new avenues for marketing.

How Will You Celebrate Small Business Saturday?

Get into the holiday spirit by embracing the new tradition of Small Business Saturday. Whether you decide to throw a party or simply extend your hours for the day, you’re sure to see an uptick in sales this November. Start planning now, though – the holidays have a way of sneaking up on us all!