Small Business Saturday 2021 is the perfect occasion to bring in new customers and drive holiday season sales, especially since a lot of local businesses have been struggling recently due to closures during the pandemic. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consumers typically turn to the likes of Amazon, Walmart, and Target for holiday shopping at slashed prices. Seeing that small businesses were missing out on making crucial holiday sales, American Express launched the first Small Business Saturday in 2010 to take place every year on the Saturday after Black Friday. The campaign encourages holiday shoppers to buy from small, local businesses in their community instead of buying from retail giants who usually have a monopoly on sales during Cyber Weekend.
When is Small Business Saturday?
This year Small Business Saturday falls on 27th November in the US (and on 4th December in the UK). We can expect a big turnout as consumers are more aware than ever of the impact of the pandemic on small businesses and they’re looking to support their local community. With this in mind, we’ve set out 5 key ways that businesses can leverage Small Business Saturday to make more sales this holiday season!
Start your Small Business Saturday communications early!
In the frenzy of holiday shopping, a lot of consumers plan their spending around Black Friday and Cyber Monday as they’re the most well-known events. This means that small businesses should publicize what they’re organizing for Small Business Saturday ahead of time so customers know what to expect.
Decide early on how you’re going to mark the occasion, with holiday promotions, an in-store event, or maybe an online campaign? Then prepare your promotional materials so people are aware of Small Business Saturday and how they can support your business on the day.
You should mix and match online and offline strategies to spread the message. For example, you can create dedicated social media banners and profile photos for your brand’s social media profiles, you can send a dedicated email blast or launch a countdown to the day via social media. Don’t forget to incorporate the hashtags #SmallBusinessSaturday and #ShopSmall in your online communications! If you have a brick-and-mortar store you can also put up stickers and signage in the store or hand out flyers promoting the event.
Remind people why they should shop from small businesses
During the holiday season, many businesses are pouring the lion’s share of their ad spend into advertising promotions. But don’t worry if you don’t have a huge advertising budget. Small businesses can connect with their customers in a way that’s more powerful than large conglomerates. Remember, people connect with personal stories more than ads, so why not put your business’ origin story at the forefront? Utilize social media, local radio and TV spots, or local press to talk about how your business got started and introduce the people behind it. Think about what makes your products unique and how people can support their own community by shopping with you. You could take a moment to highlight some key members of staff, post a ‘flashback Friday’ or share a ‘how it started vs. how it’s going’ post.
Launch in-store promotions
To drive more sales during Small Business Saturday, consider launching a sale on selected items, creating holiday gift bundles for a discounted price, or offering a $5 gift card when customers spend more than $50. You can leverage urgency and scarcity tactics by running a one-day-only sale or encouraging people to shop from your holiday line before stocks run out. In brick-and-mortar stores, you could also have product samples and demonstrations on-site or offer a free gift with every purchase. These are some of the many ways to offer a small incentive for new customers to come in and shop.
Get inspiration from independent plant shop Ansel and Ivy who offered a free watering can to the recipient for gift card purchases over $100.
Leverage social media as part of your sales strategy for Small Business Saturday by utilizing the social commerce features available on your brand’s social media pages. You can drive sales with in-app shopping on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for example, highlight your best-sellers with product stickers in Instagram Stories, and share curated product catalogs with product pins. When promoting Small Business Saturday in your social feeds you can boost conversion rates by making every post shoppable and encourage more online sales by offering free delivery or a limited time discount.
Social media is an important tool for connecting with your online audience, it’s great for brand storytelling, showcasing your products, and driving sales! It’s the perfect way to complement in-store sales by offering customers a seamless way to purchase online, helping you reach a much broader audience and going beyond people in your local area!
Work with influencers
Influencers can help boost the reach of your Small Business Saturday campaign and help you drive sales! You can work with locally-based influencers whose audience will likely be based close by to your store to promote your products. Your influencers could come for a private tour of your store or workshop and create some teaser content ahead of the day itself. They can promote their favorite products, and show how ‘shopping small’ aligns with their values, and encourage others to do the same.
If you have an e-commerce store, influencers can help drive sales by sharing a promo code or affiliate link with their followers for your Small Business Saturday sale. With their wide audience, influencers are sure to reach and convert new customers to your store!