Make This Year’s Small Business Saturday Best Ever

If last year's Small Business Saturday is any indicator, you'll want to be prepared to have a successful, busy day come the weekend of Thanksgiving.

U.S. consumers spent an estimated $23.3 billion at independent retailers and restaurants last year on Small Business Saturday, up from a pre-pandemic's $19.6 billion in 2019 spending and 18 percent more than the $19.8 billion spent on that day in 2020, according to the 2021 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey sponsored by American Express.

"Small Business Saturday has become an important part of small businesses' busiest shopping season," says the Small Business Administration in a post about this year's November 26 event.

The day, founded by American Express in 2010 and co-sponsored by SBA as of 2011, is "a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities," the agency notes.

In a Constant Contact survey of 5,000 consumers, 72 percent said they intend to make more effort to support small businesses. 

It's terrific that people are making an extra effort to support small businesses, and the hope is that this year will see the greatest showing of support for the holiday ever, says a recent Constant Contact blog.

The national attention that comes with Small Business Saturday presents a perfect marketing opportunity for your business to attract even more customers and sales on November 26.

"If you're a small business owner, this is your day to reach more customers than almost any other time of year," writes Jenna Emerick in a blog for digital marketing company Web FX

Here are a few suggestions to make your company's participation in Small Business Saturday this year a huge success.

Make it special. Acknowledge the day — and draw more customers in — with a unique Small Business Saturday activity, event, or another type of promotion.

Depending on your business type and marketing budget, consider ways to offer a discount, such as a $5 off code or coupon. Or what about providing a small gift with any purchase over $50 or a discount redeemable for a 2023 purchase?

If you're a business with a physical site, offer coffee/tea or a special occasion treat like a packaged cookie to help attract customers to come in and browse your store on November 26. 

"Promotions don't have to mean offering steep discounts across the board, especially since the day is about customers supporting a local retailer," writes Inc. associate editor Anna Meyer in a recent post.

Prepare your store and staff. Be well stocked up and staffed for success on what will be a busy Small Business Saturday, which is critical for brick-and-mortar retail businesses and restaurants, writes content strategist Jake Link in the Constant Contact blog.

"Think about your staff and what their strengths are, then assign tasks to each member to cut out any confusion when your store is filled with eager shoppers," says Link, former senior content manager at Constant Contact.

Partner with another small business. Find another small business in your community or anywhere to create a marketing Small Business Saturday idea together - which could provide more opportunities for new customers.

Potential partners would be a brick-and-mortar retail business near yours - next door or in the same shopping district - or a small business whose products and services complement yours. For example, you could run a contest, with the winner receiving gift cards for each business.

Or you could offer special discounts for shopping at both stores, sell product bundles, or sponsor crossover events, suggests a Business News Daily post.

"This is a great way to build relationships with other small business owners in your area and strengthen your sense of community," writes Kiely Kuligowski in the story.

Aim for long-term customers. Getting shoppers' names and contact information is a must for any given day but be prepared to step up those efforts on Small Business Saturday.

Make it easy for shoppers to find you on social media, or if you have a newsletter, have them sign up for it on a dedicated iPad by the register, suggests Bob Phibbs on his Retail Doctor website. 

It's imperative to get their names and social media handles because you must continue to interact with these customers even after the Thanksgiving leftovers have been consumed, he writes.

Look beyond your goal of booming single-day sales and turn your focus on providing a positive experience that will turn that Small Business Saturday shopper into a long-term customer, says

Chris Ronzio, founder and CEO of software maker Trainual, in an Inc. blog

"Maximize the day by being sure to collect information on anyone who interacts with your offer," Ronzio says, suggesting to get them on your newsletter or to give them a punch card. "Try to give them a reason to come back." 

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