Plan Ahead for Small Business Saturday

This year, Black Friday shopping starts earlier than ever.  All the big box stores will promote huge discounts, people will shop through the night, and a fight or two might even ensue among shoppers.  Are you worried that you can’t compete with all the might of the big stores?  Plain and simple, you can’t, but nor do you want to.  At the big box stores, customers are numbers.  It’s all about volume.  As a small business owner, your sales are likely based on a relationship type shopping experience.  That is your key to your success.  Create a special experience for your customers and let them know how special they are.

Change You Perceptions about Black Friday, Don’t Get Lost in the Black Friday Shuffle

If you try to compete with the big box stores on Black Friday, chances are you’ll just get lost in the shuffle.  Customers are looking for huge discounts, frantic shopping and are out with a ‘competitive’ state of mind.  Fast forward to the next day, and the same individuals will be ready for a more relaxing experience.  This is where your planning comes into play.  The first thing you need to do is to change your perception.  Don’t waste valuable dollars advertising for Black Friday.  Even more important to your bottom line, don’t offer deep discounts just to get new customers in the door on Black Friday.  They won’t be loyal customers and you’ll likely suffer a loss.   Instead, start planning for and promoting an ‘event’ for Small Business Saturday.

Don’t be afraid to play off the negatives of Black Friday.  Let your customers know you are offering a chance to relax, that you have unique gifts that the recipient will appreciate, and that you offer the better gift giving experience.

About Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country.  It is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Having a dedicated day encourages consumers to consciously consider the benefits of shopping locally at small businesses rather than only at the big box stores and online.  Small Business Saturday this year is November 30, 2013.  For access to great ideas, prior success stories and resources, click here.  Qualifying Small Businesses are eligible for 1 Small Business Mat and 20 reusable shopping bags.

Create a Great Customer Experience

Small Business Saturday is an opportunity for all small businesses to shine!    Be sure to market your event well in advance.  Do something special for your customers:  host a VIP event, offer a donation to a charity in conjunction with the day, or celebrate with yummy treats for your guests.   You can even offer an extra special experience, such as renting a photo booth, so your customers can capture their fun day on film!

Just be sure to focus on the customer.  Let them know that they are special.  And don’t forget to thank your customers for shopping at your small business.  Let them know that by shopping at your store, they are helping to preserve their unique shopping opportunities and helping the community.

Key Steps for a Successful Small Business Saturday

  • Identify your offering.
  • Identify your market.
  • Begin promoting Small Business Saturday now.
  • Personally invite current customers who enter your store from now through Black Friday.
  • Let your customers know they’re welcome to bring a friend.
  • Send an email flyer to your distribution list at least 2 weeks prior to the day.
  • Offer a coupon or special offer.
  • Promote your event using social media.
  • Call your most loyal customers and personally invite them.
  • Send a reminder a few days before the event.
  • The day of the event, focus on the relationship with your customers, create an inviting environment, and have fun.

Want to take the experience one-step further, send your customers a thank you.  Thank them for making the day special.  Perhaps include a special holiday shopping coupon that is only for your special customers.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group.  The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long term basis.  Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business growth.

Comments are closed.