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The UPS Store Small Business blog
  • 15 November 2021
  • Liam Edwardson

Get Ready for Small Business Saturday

Coming to life in the midst of the 2010 recession, Small Business Saturday encourages people to “Shop Small” by bringing more holiday shopping to local small businesses. Occurring one day after Black Friday and two days before Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday helps kicks off the holiday shopping season. The goal is to convince consumers to keep local businesses in mind as they start buying gifts. The main resource for Small Business Saturday is none other than its original founder: American Express.

friends walking past open store

Set the stage

If you have a physical, brick-and-mortar retail store, establish the holiday mood with the works: decorations, music, and the scents of pinecones, wreaths, spiced cider, gingerbread cookies and more. Create a celebratory environment both your customers and staff will enjoy.

Use this opportunity to get any necessary cleaning and maintenance taken care of. You may also want to think about reorganizing your store to accommodate more store traffic and to focus attention on the items that sell the best — and the ones that make the most profits.

Make sure you have plenty of help

If you foresee you might be short-staffed during Small Business Saturday and the holidays beyond it, start planning to hire temporary and seasonal employees.  

Many businesses hire holiday-season workers for increased activity in the warehouse or for duties such as wrapping presents. Your sales floor employees are another story. They need to be well-trained and highly knowledgeable about your product offerings so they can best assist customers, responding expertly to any requests.

Get your staff into the spirit

Dealing with a lot of people on one day can be stressful. It is essential to keep your employees happy all season long. That way they can pass that attitude along to your customers in the form of exceptional customer service. To lift their spirits and their energy levels, consider providing incentives to your employees. How about setting day-of sales quotas, which, if they reach or surpass them, they get a fun reward, such as a free lunch at the restaurant of their choice. If competition between staffers does not align with your work culture, establish incentives for the whole team.

For example: You can give more rest breaks, longer lunches, or perhaps even an extra paid day off to everyone who works on Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

Be COVID-19 and delta-prepared

There is nothing more important than safeguarding the physical and mental health of your employees and customers throughout the holiday season — and all year long. Make sure you have implemented the most up-to-date cleaning and sanitation methods and that everyone in your employ wears the proper personal protective equipment (PPE). Try to provide a comfortable, safe, and positive shopping experience for all. Be sure to brush up and adhere to the latest CDC regulations, local and state guidelines, and enforce social distancing procedures.

Join local Small Business Saturday events

What could be better than a company going all out for Small Business Saturday? A whole bunch of companies working together to go all out for Small Business Saturday. Reach out to other local small businesses and organizations to see if they already have events planned. Obviously, this could draw even more awareness to small businesses participating in such events.

Put out some feelers to your local chamber of commerce, Local First organizations and business alliances or peruse their website news feeds and upcoming event calendars to see if they have any Small Business Saturday plans.

Host your own event

If no Small Business Saturday events are being hosted by any of your local business owners or organizations, why not boldly go first? Hosting your own event could be the best way to get your small business’ name out there because it would receive top billing. You may also want to connect with other small business owners in your area and request their help in getting the word out to your community.

Offer a deal only your small business can

On Small Business Saturday, you could feature one product in a promotion that is unique to your category. For instance, if you run a private gym, you could have a drawing in which the grand prize is a free annual membership. A store that sells musical instruments could stage a battle of the bands for local musicians to compete in.

Advertise, promote and sell, sell, sell

Advertising and promotion are most effective during special times, and Black Friday and Small Business Saturday definitely qualify. You may have all kinds of relatively inexpensive media at your disposal: the local newspaper, email lists, direct mail and more. Make sure your advertising copy and graphics convey a clear and compelling message, convincing people to come visit your store or small business.

Make the most of social media

No matter what your advertising and promotion budget is, you can still put out professional-looking but free social media posts with tools such as Crella, Stencil or Canva. To plan precisely when each of your posts will go up, create a social media calendar and strictly adhere to it. Do everything you can to create excitement and buzz around your Small Business Saturday promotion and events.

Preparing for Small Business Saturday could be a challenging process but could also be well worth the effort. You could reap significant sales, attract new and loyal customers, and amass name recognition and goodwill from your community. Not only that, but you may also choose to adapt your successful Small Business Saturday plan to holidays and occasions all throughout the fiscal year, including Veterans Day, Labor Day, Halloween, Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and more.



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