Small Business Saturday: How to Get Your Business Ready

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shopping bags holiday

I wrote a little blog for Infomedia today about getting your website ready for Small Business Saturday. I won’t go into all that because reading it is only a click away, but I focused on ecommerce businesses on that site, and I wanted to share a few ideas for getting your brick and mortar shop ready, too:

Create some paper collateral promoting Small Business Saturday

Let’s be honest with ourselves — most people haven’t even heard of Small Business Saturday (or Shop Small Saturday). Black Friday, yes. Cyber Monday, maybe. But our little holiday isn’t on most people’s radar. But that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Create some in-store signage, make shelf talkers, or print cards listing your discounts for the day.

Talk to customers about the holiday at checkout

You already know your current customer base prioritizes shopping local, so there’s a good chance the holiday will appeal to them. Don’t bore them with a long explanation about it, but it’s okay to mention it while you’re ringing them up (and ask your salespeople to do the same). Hand out the cards you made so they’re less likely to forget, and encourage them to come take advantage of your discounts on a day made for shopping local.

Don’t be preachy

Yes, talk to your customers about the discounts you’ll be offering on Small Business Saturday, but try not to get up on a soapbox and rail against big box stores. The truth is, most of our customers buy from us AND from Amazon, and it’s not usually a good idea to insult people when they’re spending money with you.

If Small Business Saturday just isn’t working for you, don’t force it

Small Business Saturday was always a struggle in my shop because it coincides with Iron Bowl Saturday — Alabama’s two most popular football teams go head-to-head with each other, and our booming metropolis turns into a ghost town. We still celebrated, but we never got a lot of traction. I think it’s worth giving Small Business Saturday a shot, but if you don’t think your customers are responding to it, you don’t have to force it. There’s no law saying you can’t participate in Black Friday just because you’re a locally owned store, so if your customer base will resonate with that better, do what works for you.

Carrie Rollwagen is cofounder of Church Street Coffee & Books and host of the podcast Everybody Hates Self-Publishing. She hopes you’ll read as many books as you can, and that you’ll get them all from your local bookshop or library. You can find Carrie on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter @crollwagen.

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