Starting in 2010, the U.S. began celebrating Small Business Saturday. This event takes place on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, right after Black Friday and before Cyber Monday, in the middle of the busiest shopping time of the year. Started in 2010 in Roslindale, Massachusetts, the event encourages shoppers to patronize local brick and mortar businesses in their town or community. Instead of competing with larger stores for business on Black Friday, small businesses now have their own day to promote and encourage local community members to come shop. Some promotion and marketing strategies are even tax deductible!
Whether you offer a service or sell retail goods, here are seven creative ideas to bring people into your business on Small Business Saturday:
Create a Craft Area
Many shoppers come with their kids, who are often bored and tired of shopping. By creating a craft table with a quick, easy craft for kids, you’re able to give parents the time they need to look around and purchase from you. Crafts can include Christmas or holiday cards, simple Christmas tree ornaments, holiday coloring pages, or even kids’ books to read.
Offer Food, Drink, or a Place to Rest
Although any business can offer free food and drink for a customers, this can be especially good for service-based businesses that don’t have retail gifts or goods. Turn on some Christmas music, set out some cookies and provide some chairs where people can rest between shops. You get a chance to network and get to know the local community, and when they’re ready to do their taxes or join a dance class, they’ll remember you.
Sell Gift Cards at a Discount
For service-based businesses that don’t sell retail goods especially, consider selling gift cards at a discount. For instance, a shopper can buy your service in advance at a discount, for themselves or a loved one. For many people with hard-to-buy-for family members and friends, this may be the perfect choice and one they hadn’t considered until they saw you open on Small Business Saturday.
Do A Giveaway or Promotion
Offer customers a two-for-one offer, or give away a small gift with a purchase. Many people are buying presents for multiple family members and friends; every little bit helps. Many Liberty Tax offices participate in our annual "It's A Wrap" program. They invite the public to come in the office and have their Christmas purchases wrapped free of charge.
Sponsor a Local Charity
Find a local charity that you appreciate. During Small Business Saturday, let customers know that you’re giving a certain percentage of profits to the charity. Not only will this positively affect your community, it will also bring in more customers that want their dollars to make a difference. The charity will also be able to promote you, asking people to shop at your store.
Bring in Santa
If your local community doesn’t have a Santa lined up for Small Business Saturday, bring in your own – or dress up as Santa yourself! Most customers will be happy to take pictures with Santa on their cell phones, and kids will drag their parents to your shop, giving parents the excuse to peruse your goods. Alternatively, you can also have elves, a snowman, or other winter-themed characters welcoming people into your store.
Reward Loyal Customers with a Discount
One of the best ways to reward loyal customers is with a discount or promotion. You can send the promotion to your mailing list, post it on your social media or just let your customers know that you appreciate them by offering them a deal on Small Business Saturday. Share the discount on social media and ask your customers to share it with your friends to bring in even more customers. You can also let your customers know that you’ll give them a certain percentage off of their Small Business Saturday purchase if they bring in a receipt from having bought something at your store previously.
According to American Express, for every $100 spent locally, $68 stays in the local economy. By offering customers something to do on Small Business Saturday, you’re not only helping your own business but other local businesses as well.