For small and locally owned businesses, the day after Black Friday can seem like a Super Bowl of sorts. That’s because millions of Americans all across the country will shop small and buy local, spending billions of dollars in a single day. There’s no doubt that Small Business Saturday gives local businesses a boost, but it’s just the start of a successful business’s holiday season strategy.
Last year, some 95 million consumers shopped small on Small Business Saturday, and consumers who were aware of the holiday spent $16.2 billion in one day. Small Business Saturday has grown year after year, with more consumers becoming aware of the program and more businesses benefitting from the occasion. This year’s Small Business Saturday will take place on Saturday, Nov. 26 – and if history is any indication, it could be bigger than ever.
To participate in Small Business Saturday, local businesses can leverage free marketing materials from American Express OPEN, the big-name engine behind the local-friendly holiday. They can also make sure to list their locations in relevant online directories, such as the Independent We Stand Locals Only search engine and mobile app, where consumers might search for businesses near them on the big day.
Ultimately, though, Small Business Saturday is just one day. It’s an important start to the holiday shopping season for small businesses, but it’s not the only day that consumers will head to their local shopping centers for holiday gifts, decorations and meals. As such, small businesses should use the big day to cultivate support among consumers that will last long after Nov. 26.
Some of small businesses’ biggest supporters have taken steps to ensure that the holiday shopping traffic doesn’t end on Small Business Saturday. For instance, American Express will offer cardholders double rewards on spending at small businesses through Dec. 31. In New York City, Uber riders can get their first UberPOOL free from Small Business Saturday through the end of the year with a shop small code.
Throughout the entire holiday shopping season, the National Retail Federation projects that consumers will spend upwards of $655 billion, an increase of 3.6 percent over last year. Meanwhile, the International Council of Shopping Centers has forecast a spending increase of 3.3 percent at brick-and-mortar stores over last year.
To make the most of those shoppers, small businesses can leverage free holiday social media graphics, participate in local events and otherwise spread the word about shopping local. Perhaps most importantly, small businesses can use the increased traffic from Small Business Saturday to create relationships with new people in the community. Despite the chaos of a busy day in the store, take time to collect email addresses at the point of sale and greet each customer with the type of welcoming customer service that small businesses are known for.
Small Business Saturday could be bigger than ever, but so too could the holiday shopping season as a whole. As you make the most of Small Business Saturday, think ahead to the rest of the season.
Independent We Stand is dedicated to helping independent businesses across the country engage their communities and encouraging customers to buy local. If you’re a business owner, get buy local resources, tips and news by registering for a business membership. Your business will also be included in our ‘locals only’ search engine and mobile app. If you’re a consumer, take the pledge to buy local to join the movement.