There is no question that 2020 has been nothing short of a challenging year for small businesses. In 2019, over 57% of small businesses experienced revenue growth and many had projected 2020 to be their best year yet. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic surprised us all.
Thankfully, Small Business Saturday is right around the corner; here just in time to help you kick off a holiday season filled with customers eager to shop small to support their local community. If successfully taken advantage of, Small Business Saturday could enormously ramp up customer engagement, acquisition, and above all, sales.
In today’s post, we’ll be highlighting the vital importance that small businesses have on our economy, what Small Business Saturday is, and what your business can do to prepare to see success.
Small Businesses: The Backbone of America
With over 30 million small businesses in the United States, it should come as no surprise that they are oftentimes called the backbone of the American economy. Combined, they contribute 44% of economic activity and are responsible for creating 66% of net new jobs in the country each year.
In March, the Small Business Administration (SBA) started an emergency assistance program that ended up providing over $20 billion dollars to help small businesses with recovery efforts due to the shutdown. Ever since, most small businesses have been forced into survival mode with the constant fear of how they would be able to afford another shutdown.
What is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday was founded in 2010 by American Express during the last recession and held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (the day after Black Friday). Big-box stores bring in the big bucks on Black Friday each year, taking away from local economies. Small Business Saturday was created to give local shops a chance to shine and encourage consumers to spend their money supporting their communities, and it’s since proven successful. For every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S., approximately 67 cents stays in the local community. This adds up to make a big difference: don’t forget there are over 30 million small businesses in the United States, they generate 44% of economic activity and create 66% of net new jobs in the country each year.
A day dedicated to supporting small businesses makes a real impact in our communities – and it’s also fun. Of course, Small Business Saturday has an entirely new meaning in 2020. The holiday season will be critical to the success of so many businesses.
How to Prepare for Small Business Saturday in 2020
As a small business owner, you may be eager to take full advantage of Small Business Saturday. Here are five simple ways that you can reach current and new customers this holiday season:
1. Increase Your Online Presence
Many people are still cautious about venturing out and are doing the majority of their shopping online. To accommodate them, consider offering special online promotions or discounts such as curbside or in-store pickup for local community members who would prefer to avoid shipping costs but aren’t comfortable shopping inside your store.
Make sure that your website can properly fulfill online orders and is mobile-friendly. Studies show that 78% of mobile searchers seeking information on local businesses result in a purchase. So, make sure that your website is easy to navigate and user-friendly.
2. Get Creative with Promotions
As a small business, it’s not feasible to offer slashed prices and doorbusters like the big-box brands. However, keep in mind that customers shop with you to support their local businesses and are willing to pay a premium. To show your appreciation, consider offering a small discount, BOGO promotion, free gift with every purchase, or a discounted shipping rate.
3. Work with Other Local Businesses
To make the biggest impact possible, work with other shops in your local community to spread the word. You could offer special incentives to encourage people to shop in your specific area by collaborating with other popular brands. Also, check with your local small business association to add your name to any promotions or registries advertising small businesses.
4. Shift Your Marketing Efforts
Take advantage of your customers spending more time online. Utilize social media by providing updates and photos of your products, promotions, and company updates. When posting on social media, use the following hashtags to make sure you’re coming up when people are searching for Small Business Saturday:
Also, consider rewarding people that spread the word about your small business and check-in on social media. A 2015 Nielsen study found that 83% of consumers trust the recommendations of their family and friends. So, people are much more likely to visit your store in person or online if they see that someone they know has too.
5. Think Beyond Small Business Saturday
Local shoppers will be looking for gifts throughout the entire holiday season. Your marketing efforts to prepare for Small Business Saturday can be used well beyond November 28th.
Everyone has a small business they can’t imagine living without. Make sure that your local community knows that your business is open, offers a variety of ways to shop, and is eager to help them find the perfect gift for their loved ones on Small Business Saturday (and beyond). Congratulations on every effort to serve your community and combat COVID-19.