If you own a brick and mortar store, then one of the biggest boosts you can give to your holiday sales is to be an active participant in Small Business Saturday which falls out on November 29th this year. It’s a day when communities across the US celebrate and support their local small businesses.
I find it amazing how many small business owners spend a lot of time and effort trying to tap into the buying momentum of Black Friday, the mega shopping event that immediately follows Thanksgiving. The truth is the celebrated first day of the Christmas shopping season has absolutely nothing to do with small businesses. It’s meant for the big box retailers that can afford to offer steep discounts on inventory in an attempt to lure bargain-hungry holiday shoppers. You can read about the history of Black Friday here.
Small business owners, stay away… far away. Trying to lure shoppers to your small business with the promise of steep discounts or “door-buster” deals will only hurt your business and leave you with little to show for it- similar to how those Groupon deals did a few years back. Instead, the focus should be on rewarding loyal customers while trying to attract the buyers who will appreciate what your business has to offer (and come back for more.)
This is exactly the attitude behind Small Business Saturday which is a shopping event held on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. The initiative was started by American Express four years ago and has gained in popularity ever since. In this event, small businesses are encouraged to join forces under the “Shop Small” brand and where possible host community-wide events that will appeal to local shoppers.
If your community has yet to participate in this event, American Express offers an assortment of helpful resources on their website, such as a bunch of useful free marketing materials for both online and offline promotion. There are also several stories of businesses that were able to capitalize on the day to increase sales and brand awareness.
If you would like to get updates about local Small Business Saturday events or are looking for a little inspiration, you can follow the Small Business Saturday communities on both Facebook and Twitter.