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What Should You Do For Small Business Saturday?

11/09/2023 - Business Insights

white family shopping in winter
Business Insights: Small Business Saturday

In this article, we’ll share some actionable tips for making your next Small Business Saturday a success.

What Is Small Business Saturday?

For decades, the few days following Thanksgiving have marked the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Many major retailers entice shoppers with extended hours and deep discounts on Black Friday, while online marketplaces target consumers with limited-time deals on Cyber Monday.

Big businesses have nabbed the biggest chunk of holiday spending, both in-store and online. And that’s why Small Business Saturday was created.

Inaugurated in 2010 and held each year on the Saturday that falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is an opportunity for independent merchants to shine. Through national and local partners, like chambers of commerce and business improvement districts (BIDs), participating small businesses can access free marketing resources, giveaway items, and listings in special shopping guides.

It’s also a chance for the entire community – merchants, residents, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and corporate sponsors – to join together and show their support for the #ShopSmall movement while experiencing the unique wares and personalized attention that only local businesses can provide.

Make Your Presence Known

Effective promotion – both in person and online – is the key to a fun and profitable Small Business Saturday:

  1. Start Online
    Build anticipation early by promoting Small Business Saturday via email and social media. Use the hashtag #ShopSmall and give your customers sneak peeks of what to expect on the big day. Consider coordinating with business groups or local celebrities. And make sure your hours and contact details are accurately listed on your website and social media profiles.
  2. Get Branded Resources
    While there’s no official registration required for Small Business Saturday, eligible businesses can get listed on the nationwide Shop Small Map and download free promotional materials and tips from the #ShopSmall Accelerator. Ask your area chamber of commerce or economic development agency how to receive free swag or get listed in local guides.
  3. Create Special Offers
    No matter what type of goods or services your business sells, you can roll out compelling promos for Small Business Saturday. Buy-one-get-one deals, promo codes for social media followers, and giveaways of branded products are popular choices. You can also enrich your in-store experience with raffles, artisan demonstrations, or live entertainment.
  4. Deck the Halls
    This is a great opportunity to boost the visibility and functionality of your venue. Draw in foot traffic with festive and eye-catching decorations, lighting, and signage. Inside, optimize your layout to accommodate an increased flow of customers and showcase your special offerings. Be sure to furnish plenty of shopping maps and other event materials.
  5. Stay Open for Business
    There’s no reason to follow the lead of big-box stores and start your sales at the stroke of midnight. But if you’re a brick-and-mortar establishment, you should consider extending your hours for the day, and you’ll want to ensure that you have plenty of staff on the floor to provide attentive personal service and keep your point of sale moving briskly.
  6. Buddy Up
    To multiply the impact of Small Business Saturday, team up with other local shops. Consider cross-marketing – if you’re a bookstore, offer discounts on cookbooks to patrons of a nearby gourmet food market, and vice versa. You can also take advantage of co-op advertising, where a few complimentary businesses go in on a single print ad or radio spot.

How Your Business Can Benefit

When local merchants and shoppers are enthusiastically engaged, Small Business Saturday can be a win-win:

  1. Build Awareness
    With major corporate sponsors, support from the Small Business Administration, and increasing local buy-in, there are a lot of free promotional opportunities to piggyback on. Get your brand in front of a large, supportive audience.
  2. Ramp Up Sales
    For many independent retailers, the holiday shopping season is a make-or-break period for profits. You can get a running start with a strong Small Business Saturday strategy. Consider sharing your sales data to show the impact of the day.
  3. Meet Your Colleagues
    It’s the perfect occasion to deepen your relationships with fellow entrepreneurs and other key contacts in your community. If you can, get in on the planning at the local level. Proactive collaboration can lead to unexpected joint efforts.
  4. Increase Customer Loyalty
    While retail giants focus on blowout bargains, think of Small Business Saturday as a way to nurture long-term connections with top-notch service and distinctive experiences. Subtle touches can turn casual browsers into lifelong patrons.
  5. Strut Your Stuff
    This event is all about small business solidarity, but it’s also a chance to stand out. Use the extra exposure to tell your story and show what’s truly unique about your business. Authenticity resonates, so let your personality shine through.
  6. Refine Your Strategy
    Small Business Saturday is just one day, but you can use its momentum to create lasting change. Leverage increased footfalls and web traffic to collect customers’ contact information and observe buying trends. Then, follow up to express your thanks and extend exclusive post-event offers that will keep shoppers coming back to explore more.

Seize the Day

Need a guide on setting a budget to make the most of your Small Business Saturday? Check out these handy tips!


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Content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of WesBanco.

While we hope you find this content useful, it is only intended to serve as a starting point. Your next step is to speak with a qualified, licensed professional who can provide advice tailored to your individual circumstances. Nothing in this article, nor in any associated resources, should be construed as financial or legal advice. Furthermore, while we have made good faith efforts to ensure that the information presented was correct as of the date the content was prepared, we are unable to guarantee that it remains accurate today.

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