2020 marks the 10th anniversary of Small Business Saturday! A decade ago, American Express created the holiday in response to an economy struggling to rebound from a recession. Born out of a movement growing tired of big-name brands receiving more support than local mom-and-pop stores, consumers were encouraged to lift up the lifeblood of the national economy and communities everywhere: small businesses. In 2020, shopping local may look a bit different, and many small businesses have either closed temporarily or permanently due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. But, shoppers appear eager, now more than ever, to #ShopSmall, and small businesses that remain operational can make the most of Small Business Saturday.
This year, Small Business Saturday will serve as an important step on the road to recovery. Here are six ways small business owners can make the most of the national holiday, safely driving traffic to their establishment(s):
Advertise to Reach Customers:
- It’s important to consider how and where customers are learning about what your business has to offer. Effective promotions can help you reach customers, encouraging them to add your business to their “must shop” list. Advertising via newsletters or the local newspaper may prove beneficial, but the best way to advertise remains through social media. Share unique content and use relevant hashtags such as #ShopSmall or local hashtags specific to your community while highlighting special deals. American Express offers a free Small Business Saturday kit of customizable marketing materials to help businesses get started!
Offer Curbside Pickup or Contactless Delivery:
- This year, consumers want to feel safe when shopping locally, and touchless transactions would be preferable. Outline a suitable process, train staff and communicate to your customers how you’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure their safety when they’re supporting your business. Customers may conduct their own research before visiting your business, and it’s best to publish procedures on your website, social media and in-store to instill confidence.
Plan Special Deals:
- Per usual, businesses will be competing for customers’ attention and purchasing power. Thus, showcasing special and enticing deals and promotions remains essential to drawing customers to your business. Don’t forget to be creative when planning what offerings you’ll highlight for the holiday season!
Collaborate with Other Small Businesses:
- Always think about ways to partner alongside other small businesses to not only support each other but increase awareness of your business. For example, a retail store and restaurant can join forces to offer 10% off coupons with proof of purchase. Numerous businesses can create a scavenger hunt that features multiple stops inside local shops while still adhering to safety guidelines. There are endless possibilities to create successful partnerships!
Embrace Virtual Events:
- If you’re not planning to offer an in-person shopping experience to avoid crowds, plan a virtual event to celebrate the holiday! If an in-person event has been planned, you can also pair that with a virtual component to reach larger audiences. Consider a live auction, virtual raffle or inviting local leaders and customers to speak about the holiday, highlighting why people should support your business during Small Business Saturday.
Ask for Reviews:
- When the celebration has ended, you’ll still want customers supporting your business throughout the holiday season and beyond! Ask customers to leave online reviews that reflect their overall experience and satisfaction. Today, online reviews are incredibly important, and you shouldn’t be afraid to let customers know why reviews matter to small businesses. If customers are already investing their time when purchasing something from your business, it’s a great opportunity to ask them to leave positive feedback to help you remain successful.