PREPARING FOR SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY
Small Business Saturday is quickly approaching. This year it falls on November 28. If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that this year is unlike any other we’ve experienced in our lifetimes, especially when it comes to the retail industry.
According to Forbes, a survey taken the first week of August found that 46% of small businesses expect to close for good by the end of this year.
If there ever was a time for Small Business Saturday, this is it.
What is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday is a movement held annually the Saturday after Thanksgiving that recognizes the need for consumers to shop at locally-owned businesses. With national and international retailers getting most consumers’ attention during the onslaught of Black Friday sales, locally-owned small businesses often find it hard to compete. Thanks to a unanimous Senate vote, it is now considered a national day of observance that sees more than $103 billion in spending over the last decade.
Because Coronavirus has dominated all aspects of our lives, it’s at the top of almost everyone’s minds. While many businesses have opened back up after the nationwide shutdown earlier this year, consumers are still concerned about safety. That means if you haven’t already, put in place new protocols to make sure all employees and shoppers feel comfortable in your shop. Be sure to:
- Enforce the “six feet apart” rule
- Make hand sanitizer readily available for everyone
- Establish a face mask policy
- Clean and sanitize high-traffic areas hourly
- Establish contactless payment, delivery, and pickup
This shouldn’t be new advice for anyone in 2020 but just in case, if you own a brick-and-mortar store, make sure you have an online presence with eCommerce capabilities. This helps customers who don’t want to risk exposure to COVID by visiting your store still support you online. It helps you, too, because it gives you a chance to broaden your audience exponentially. Make sure you use social media and email campaigns to help promote your online store. If you don’t have eCommerce functionality and think it’s too late to make it happen, read how Danielle Landrum and her husband Eric did just that in just a couple of weeks during the beginning stages of the pandemic.
Show customers your appreciation
As you know, small businesses often get new customers via word-of-mouth. Many times, shopping local is a very deliberate choice consumers make to support their local economy. Rather than shopping at larger chain stores where they might be able to get similar items more conveniently and possibly for a lower price, the customers who shop with you choose to support your business because they believe in your brand. It’s a good idea to choose messaging and marketing tactics that reflect your appreciation for these holiday season efforts. Here are some ways to do just that:
- “Friends & Family” promotions such as special discounts, coupons, or even free gift wrapping are a great way to say thank you.
- Send out a handwritten holiday card to those who have consistently supported you.
- Offer free shipping for gifts sent to loved ones in other cities.
- Post signage and content in your physical location and your online store thanking customers for their support during this extraordinarily difficult time.
Small business stories
To get a sense of how the pandemic affects small businesses worldwide, read this article by the Associated Press. Then, let’s all do our part to help each other keep our livelihoods afloat this holiday season. Promote your peers on social media, collaborate on a special event, or shop at your competition’s store.
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