There’s no way around it–this is a tough time for small business owners. The COVID-19 crisis has forced 25 percent of women-owned small businesses to close and countless more continue to struggle to survive.
Though the holiday season will likely look a little different this year, the holiday season and Small Business Saturday in particular are still opportunities for independent businesses. The revenue generated by Small Business Saturday is big. Shoppers that supported independent businesses on Small Business Saturday in 2019 spent a total of $19.6 billion last year, according to “Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey” from American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business. Celebrated the Saturday following Thanksgiving Day, this shopping holiday is a chance for entrepreneurs to shine and for customers to support their communities.
We’ve rounded up 9 tips and tools to help you prepare for one of the biggest shopping days of the year.
1. Register for Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday is more than a name; it’s an American Express program launched in 2010 to highlight the companies and business owners making an impact in their communities. Registering your business with Small Business Saturday gets you a listing in their Shop Small map, plus access to free Small Business Saturday digital and print assets and discounts on business services.
2. Find out how your town or city supports the holiday.
Your Chamber of Commerce may be hosting events in support of Small Business Saturday. They may also have advertising materials that you can use to promote your products to the community.
3. Team up with businesses in your area.
If your Chamber of Commerce isn’t hosting an event, this may be a great opportunity to band together with other businesses in your area. Can you cross-promote your services or products? Create a gift basket with treats from both of your shops? Build relationships and get creative.
4. Review your COVID-19 safety measures.
Let your community know that their safety is your priority. Review our reopening guide and make a plan to keep you, your staff and your customers healthy. If you’re expecting shipping or stock delays due to the pandemic, make sure to keep your customers updated.
5. Get the word out.
Let shoppers know about your products or services, whether they’re new or long-time favorites. Consider developing a public relations campaign leading up to Small Business Saturday or sending an email newsletter to get your existing customers excited.
6. Keep your customers’ info safe.
We’re shopping online more than ever, which means there’s even more opportunity for security breaches. Make sure your cybersecurity is up to date so that credit card numbers and other personal information stay out of scammers’ hands.
7. Study your customers’ habits.
Understanding your customers will help you better serve them. A good way to do that? Diving into how they use your website. Download our Google Analytics toolkit to get started.
8. Consider a promotion.
Small businesses can’t compete with the prices at big-box stores but you can still catch customers’ attention with a special offer. Try coming up with new ways to entice them or encourage them to share how much they love your business with a friend.
9. Keep it going!
Once you’ve reached new customers, make sure you keep them! Assess whether your current marketing strategy is designed for growth. Also, continue to engage in Shop Small and similar small business support initiatives.
Understanding your customers will help you better serve them.