Everything You Need to Know About Small Business Saturday (2017)

Small Business Saturday is on Saturday, November 25, 2017. It’s a day to celebrate local, small businesses in your community and help increase revenue for small businesses all around the country.

American Express estimates that in 2016, roughly 112 million shoppers took part in Small Business Saturday, generating more than $15.4 billion in revenue for local businesses.

What is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday was started in 2010 by American Express as a way to celebrate and drive business to small businesses across the country. It’s now a national holiday celebrated the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, which happens to follow Black Friday. The roughly 29 million American small businesses are the backbone of our country, and millions of small business owners look forward to Small Business Saturday as a way to drive new clients and increased revenue.

How to succeed this Small Business Saturday

If you’re a small business, there are a few preparations you can make to increase your likelihood of success on Small Business Saturday.

Optimize Your Product/Service Offers

Small Business Saturday is a great way to get people in your door, but once they are inside your store, it’s your job to convert that foot traffic into customers. One strategy to help you increase sales is to develop hyper-focused offers.

You should highlight your most popular products or services. These are the MVPs of your business and the ones your customers love. Create discount offers around these “best-sellers” so that you increase new business and hopefully develop repeat customers based on their satisfaction.

You also need to consider the average conversion length and optimize your offers to ones with a shorter buying cycle. For instance, if you operate a local outdoors retailer, your best-seller may be custom built kayaks. The buying cycle for a custom kayak is much longer than a pair of hiking boots, which can be purchased and used the same day. You are likely to see better results running an offer on hiking boots than custom kayaks.

When picking which items in your store to run an offer on, try remembering what your previous customers liked, but also think about items or services that can be bought and consumed without much effort from your customers.

Market Early and Often

More than 39% of in-store customers go online for information about local businesses before they ever visit the location. Thus, it’s important to have a business website and make sure your small business is featured on sites like Yelp, Facebook, and Google+.

You should also make sure you’ve added your small business to Google’s local search via their My Business platform. This will help your company show up in local search results on Google and in Google Maps.

Not only should you have your small business visible on these platforms, but you also need to actively promote your company and specifically, your Small Business Saturday offers.

Have More Than Enough Inventory

Inventory management is a huge part of running a successful small business, and that will be magnified on Small Business Saturday. Because many of the customers you get on Small Business Saturday may never have visited your location before, this will be their first interaction with you. Therefore, it’s important to make a great first impression.

The last thing you want when a new customer comes into your store is to see a stock outage. This will create a very poor customer experience and can be the difference between generating a lifelong customer and losing one.

Use historical data to better understand the items that sell more quickly in your store and the ones that have a longer shelf-life. Overstock your quick-selling items to avoid outages and don’t forget to buy enough peripheral supplies like bags, gift cards, etc.

Prepare for the Long-Term

While generating short-term sales is great for increasing your small business’ bottom line, you should also use Small Business Saturday to increase your long-term viability. There are some small steps you can take to help keep momentum long after Small Business Saturday.

Try to collect contact information from everyone who enters your store. Whether someone buys an item or not, you can still collect their contact information and use that to send out promotional offers year-round. For instance, run a free contest giving away one of your popular products or services to someone who comes into your store on Small Business Saturday. In order to enter, you have to provide your name, email, and phone number. This small promotion can help you build a lead list that offers exponential value.

Also, push all your customers to review your business on Facebook, Yelp, and Google. Reviews can make or break your small business, and by simply asking for your customers to leave a review, you will see an uptick in feedback. Increasing the number and quality of reviews will help your business continue to drive new sales.

With Small Business Saturday right around the corner, it’s time for you to start thinking about how to use this holiday to increase new business, not just on November 25th, but throughout the entire year.

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