As a small business owner, taking advantage of Small Business Saturday can be a profitable strategy when you do it right.
Since it’s a day designed especially to help you sell more, there are tons of Small Business Saturday ideas you can implement to make the most of the day. But if you’re unsure what the day’s really about or how to position your business for success, this article can help.
In this guide, you’ll learn all about Small Business Saturday, including its advantages for growing enterprises and 15 doable ideas for better sales this year.
- What is Small Business Saturday?
- How Big is Small Business Saturday?
- Small Business Saturday Ideas You Can Apply to Sell More in 2023
- Leverage user-generated content
- Work with influencers
- Share your business’ story
- Prepare an email campaign
- Plan a series of discounts
- Ensure you’re fully stocked
- Host an attractive event
- Invite local celebrities
- Offer a scavenger hunt
- Keep the momentum going
- Done Well, Small Business Saturday Can Catapult You to Success
What is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday is a marketing and visibility initiative designed to promote holiday shopping and preparations after the Thanksgiving celebrations in the United States.
It was created and promoted by the American Express credit card in partnership with the non-profit National Trust for Historic Preservation.
“Small Business Saturday is a yearly buying occasion in the U.S. which takes place just on Saturday following Thanksgiving.” | Source: nationaldaytime.com
The scope of Small Business Saturday is basically to support and encourage holiday shoppers to buy products or services from the local businesses around them since the celebrations usually cause a heavy increase in demand for products/services.
“Come support some amazing local businesses…” | Source: allevents.in
Since Small Business Saturday is always held on the last Saturday in November every year, the event usually falls between the 24th and 30th day of the last month of the year. This year, however, Small Business Saturday falls on the 25th of November 2023.
Small Business Saturday started as a unique attempt to help small business owners gain visibility and exposure. It’s a way to influence locals to shop more within their communities.
It launched as a campaign set up by American Express on the 27th of November 2010 in order to show customers the value of patronizing businesses close to them.
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How Big is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday is a very significant shopping event in the United States. So significant that it is looked forward to by small business owners with the same enthusiasm as major celebrations like Christmas.
According to the 2021 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, projected spending among US customers and consumers who shopped at independent retailers and restaurants reached an estimated figure of $23.3 billion.
Small Business Saturday has gained substantial attention, support, and influence since its creation and launch in 2010.
“There are all kinds of ways that small business owners can promote their business…” | Source: zenefits.com
Many organizations, communities, and local governments actively participate and promote the initiative. They now see the event as an opportunity to support small businesses as they attempt to attract customers, improve sales, and raise awareness of the importance of shopping locally.
Customers spent $19.8 billion in small business stores in 2020
The fact that Customers spent $19.8 billion (Source: enterprisectr.org) in small business stores in 2020 is indeed a strong indication of the significance and scale of Small Business Saturday.
Having that amount of money spent on the products and services of small businesses during Small Business Saturday is proof of the economic impact and purchasing power generated by customers during the holiday.
It’s also a testament to how much of a counterbalance Small Business Saturday provides to the dominance of e-commerce giants and big-box retailers. It highlights the impact of diverting consumer behavior towards supporting smaller independent businesses.
Further, the rate of spending is projected to grow as more people learn about and participate in the holiday event. As reported by Bankrate, roughly 6 in 10 people are planning to shop on Small Business Saturday 2023.
With the 4% to 6% rise in 2023 holiday spending projected by Deloitte, it promises to be a bumper sales opportunity for community businesses this year.
Small Business Saturday Ideas You Can Apply to Sell More in 2023
Every year, Small Business Saturday provides small business owners with an opportunity to boost visibility, gain more customers and increase sales. As the year draws closer to its end, making the most out of the forthcoming Small Business Saturday should be a priority.
The good thing is even if you do not know how to prepare or take advantage of the forthcoming event, there are tons of Small Business Saturday ideas that you can exploit and use for your business.
Here are 10 Small Business Saturday ideas that you can use during the event.
“Small Business Saturday is just around the corner. And that means that it’s time for you to start thinking about how you can make your business stand out…” | Source: smallbiztrends.com
Leverage user-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) offers a creative and impactful strategy that you can employ to prepare for Small Business Saturday.
By encouraging customers to share their experiences, testimonials, and photos on social media using specific hashtags or tags, you can harness the power of UGC to build excitement and attract a wider audience.
For instance, if you own a local boutique, you could have a contest where customers post photos wearing their favorite purchases with a designated hashtag. Or you can encourage your customers to share stories of their best experience in your store.
You can then put the images, videos, or online posts generated by customers on your website or social media platforms. This helps showcase your products and the happy experiences of your customers.
It also creates a sense of community and authenticity that will not only amplify your business' reach but also build trust, engagement, and buzz in the lead-up to Small Business Saturday.
Work with influencers
Collaborating with influencers is a highly effective Small Business Saturday idea to enhance brand visibility and drive customer engagement.
By partnering with influencers whose target audience aligns with that of your business, you can leverage their reach and credibility to generate buzz in your store.
“The shopping day is a perfect time to leverage the power of influencers to reach your audience…” | Source: izea.com
For instance, as a local bakery you could collaborate with a popular food influencer. Send special holiday treats and have them showcase these on their social media platforms.
The influencer's recommendations and enticing visuals can influence their followers to visit your bakery, which in turn attracts foot traffic and sales.
However, keep in mind that you need to establish clear expectations with each influencer. Provide them with unique content or experiences and monitor the campaign's success through metrics like web/store traffic and sales.
By harnessing the power of influencer marketing, you can amplify your message and connect with a broader audience in the lead up to Small Business Saturday.
Share your business’ story
Your business has a story, and most of the time, sharing that story can help engage customers and inspire them. Your business’ unique journey, values and passion can help create an emotional connection with your audience.
For instance, your local coffee shop could create a series of social media posts leading up to Small Business Saturday, highlighting your humble beginnings. You can also provide insight into your process, including how you source beans and a peel into the life of your baristas.
Sharing your business story is the perfect way to attract ideal customers | Source: pixabay.com
Other ways you could share your business story include providing insight into how you give back to your community or support other local businesses. This way, you not only humanize your business but also attract buyers who appreciate authenticity and local connections.
It can inspire customers to choose your business on Small Business Saturday, knowing they are supporting a meaningful narrative and contributing to the success of a local enterprise.
Prepare an email campaign
As you prepare for Small Business Saturday, it’s a great idea to build expectations amongst your customers with an engaging email campaign. Emails have the highest conversion rate of all marketing media, so it can be a pretty effective tactic for you.
With emails, you can share exclusive offers, highlight special promotions and build excitement in the weeks before the event.
As an example, you can share emails showcasing limited edition Small Business Saturday merchandise. Or you could offer early access to your loyal customers, give them access to promos, or provide a discount code for the day.
Email marketing lets you stay in touch with customers and provide them with the latest information | Source: pixabay.com
You could also emphasize the importance of supporting local businesses and share personal stories or testimonials from satisfied customers.
By leveraging email marketing, you can more effectively reach your target audience and create a sense of urgency in preparation for Small Business Saturday.
Plan a series of discounts
Speaking of discounts, you can plan an entire strategy around offering mouthwatering prices to your customers.
As every business owner knows, customers love discounts. By offering discounts, you incentivize customers to visit your store and drive sales during the event. But more than this, discounts help you attract new customers, stimulate repeat business, and increase your sales.
You can start by offering a tiered discount system where customers receive higher discounts based on their purchases. Or you can have a flat discount rate instead for purchases on each specific item.
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This special discount not only rewards customer loyalty but also motivates your buyers to explore more of the store's offerings and make multiple purchases.
You can incorporate Black Friday sales ahead of the holiday season.| Source: pixabay.com
To maximize the impact, promote these discounts through various channels, including social media, email newsletters, and in-store signage. Further, you can bundle the discounts with offers tied around other holiday events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Overall, these discounts will help create excitement and buzz, driving traffic to your business and ultimately boosting sales on Small Business Saturday.
Ensure you’re fully stocked
Your stores should be full in anticipation of a day of bumper sales. This way, you’re prepared to meet the high demand and capitalize on sales opportunities during the event.
You don’t want to be in a situation where there are shortages or out of stock goods. By assessing inventory levels and replenishing supplies, you can ensure customers have all the choices they want.
Ensuring you're fully stocked days leading to a Small Business Saturday event is one strategy that can never go wrong | Source: unsplash.com
Also consider expanding your inventory by sourcing unique and seasonal items specifically for Small Business Saturday. In addition, timely communication with suppliers and efficient inventory management systems can help streamline the restocking process.
Being fully stocked not only ensures your customers are satisfied, it also maximizes sales potential and allows you to cater to the diverse preferences and needs of shoppers on Small Business Saturday.
Host an attractive event
Think about engaging events that you can host on Small Business Saturday. This Small Business Saturday idea can help draw in customers, create a memorable experience, and generate excitement for your business.
Say you own a local art store, you could host an art exhibition featuring local artists, accompanied by live music, interactive art installations, and complimentary refreshments.
Combine this with exclusive discounts on purchases made during the event and you’ll have a sell out crowd. The inviting atmosphere will help enhance the shopping experience and encourage customers to spend more time in your store (and hopefully buy more).
You can generate additional buzz about the event through social media promotion, local event listings, and partnerships with community organizations to attract a wider audience.
Business events are perfect for attracting potential customers, create brand awareness and build trust | Source:
With an attractive, memorable event you can differentiate your small business and create buzz around your offerings, driving foot traffic and sales on Small Business Saturday.
Invite local celebrities
Referrals are a powerful marketing strategy, and there are few referrals that are as powerful as the word of people who others trust. Influencers and celebrities can help bring that referral magic to your Small Business Saturday event.
You can attract attention to your store using this Small Business Saturday idea, generate buzz, and drive customer engagement. What’s more, you’re likely to see increased sales too as 92% of customers (source: Bigcommerce) will buy on the basis of a referral.
To broaden the impact of this strategy, you can organize meet-and-greet sessions, photo opportunities, or even performances by the celebrities.
Also promote the celebrity's appearance through social media, local media outlets, and targeted advertising to help spread the word and generate excitement.
With this strategy, you’ll ultimately create a memorable and star-studded experience for customers on Small Business Saturday.
Offer a scavenger hunt
Everyone loves a good hunt. Turn your store or parking lot into a game space by hiding some items and having everyone participate in a fun hunt. This Small Business Saturday idea will drive foot traffic and create a sense of adventure.
It works even better if you have multiple locations or can partner with other local businesses. You can entice participants to visit multiple locations and discover hidden treasures.
For example, you and other local businesses could collaborate to create a joint scavenger hunt where participants collect clues or complete challenges at each participating store.
To make it more enticing, you can offer exclusive discounts or small prizes for completing the hunt successfully. Don’t forget to promote the hunt through various media such as local news, your social media and word of mouth.
This interactive activity not only promotes the spirit of Small Business Saturday but also fosters a sense of community engagement and adventure among customers.
Keep the momentum going
Lastly, you simply have to keep the momentum going. Once you implement these Small Business Saturday ideas, you’ll see an increase in visitors and sales in your store. This will also help extend the impact of the event and build long-term customer loyalty.
After the event, continue engaging with customers to maintain excitement and encourage ongoing support. For example, you can offer a post-event promo, such as a "Thank You" discount for return visits throughout the following month.
You can also utilize social media channels for online advertising, share customer stories, highlight upcoming specials, or provide exclusive updates and behind-the-scenes content.
By consistently staying connected with customers, you’ll nurture relationships, reinforce your business brand, and foster ongoing engagement beyond Small Business Saturday.
Additionally, collecting customer feedback and reviews can help you understand areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments to enhance future experiences.
Keeping the momentum going ensures that the positive impact of Small Business Saturday extends well beyond a single day.
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Done Well, Small Business Saturday Can Catapult You to Success
“The key to boosting sales on the day of Small Business Saturday is knowing how to attract customers to your small business…” | Source: pixabay.com
When used properly, these small business Saturday ideas will not only improve the visibility of your small business but help you position the business for more sales and growth even after small business Saturday!
Small Business Saturdays offer several benefits to anyone who participates in it. From the customer to the small business owner, everyone walks away feeling happy and satisfied.
Getting involved with Small Business Saturday enhances brand recognition by shining a spotlight on small businesses and increasing visibility among consumers.
The event creates a platform for businesses to showcase their unique offerings and connect with new customers, thereby expanding their brand reach.
This increased exposure often translates into higher sales, as Small Business Saturday encourages customers to support local establishments. Moreover, participating in the event helps businesses build a loyal customer base, fostering long-term relationships and repeat business.
Ultimately, Small Business Saturday can lead to increased profits, as the collective efforts to promote small businesses generate heightened awareness, customer engagement, and a positive impact on the bottom line.
Choosing to actively participate in Small Business Saturday will require you and your business to be prepared.
The ideas highlighted above will be very instrumental to preparing for Small Business Saturday and ensuring that you leave a positive and lasting impression on your customers or anyone who comes in contact with your business.