5 Tips for Making Small Business Saturday a Soaring Success

5 tips to get the most from small business saturday

Are you like many businesses and taking the wrong approach to Small Business Saturday?

This special day for local businesses has become increasingly popular in recent years and that’s a good thing. However, if you’re judging your success merely by scanning your end-of-day cash register totals, you’re making a big mistake.

Don’t view Small Business Saturday as just an opportunity to boost sales as you head into the holiday season. That would be taking a very narrow view of what this day has to offer and failing to capitalize on the event’s potential.

Look at it this way: Is there any other single promotion that gets the extraordinary financial backing of American Express, all kinds of local groups as well as a phalanx of local business owners? In other words, millions of dollars are being invested across the country aimed at benefiting smaller local businesses.

If all you do is end up with a pretty good Saturday in terms of sales, you haven’t done your best at leveraging all of that good will.

Your real goal on Small Business Saturday should be to introduce your business to prospects and put them on the path to becoming repeat customers – that would make your Small Business Saturday a soaring success.

This starts with changing your perspective. Yes, you still need to offer good prices – I’m not denying that – but the overriding message you need to be sending is less about prices and more about “value.” What value can you offer local shoppers that will keep them coming back? Let’s look at some things you need to communicate to the prospects who walk into your business on Small Business Saturday.

1. Highlight your unique goods and services. In a comScore survey of why people buy from smaller local shops, the top two responses were that local stores offered unique products (61 percent) and they couldn’t find what they needed at traditional stores (49 percent).

Be certain that you offer items and services that are not easily acquired elsewhere. Display them prominently and train sales associates to discuss their uniqueness. Items that are easily found elsewhere become commodities and that makes shoppers focus solely on price.

2. Be versatile in ordering, delivery, and returns. That same survey revealed that by a 60-40 ratio shoppers prefer to return items to stores rather than pack them up and reship them. Let shoppers know that no matter how they purchased items from you, they can bring them back to your location. By the way, most shoppers end up making another purchase when they go to a store to return an item.

Versatility is also appreciated in shopping. Buyers are becoming heavily dependent on their smartphones. If you have the unique items I’ve already urged you to stock, you don’t need to be afraid of “web rooming” – when shoppers go into stores, find items and then comparison shop on their mobile devices. In fact, make it easy for them. Provide in-store wi-fi. It’s a convenience shoppers appreciate and it’s one more reason they’ll love – and remember – your store.

3. Wow customers with extraordinary service. If you, and others in your area, have done a good job promoting Small Business Saturday, be certain that you’re properly staffed – and stocked – to meet demand. If prospects come into your store and have to wait in a long line, or discover that the item they’ve fallen in love with is on back order, you’ve lost them.

Want to really impress your new customers? Arm your sales associates with mobile point of sale devices so customers don’t even have to bother going to a cash register. Take care of them right on the spot. This would really make your business stand out from the crowd.

4. Promote your future. Let everyone who ventures into your location on Small Business Saturday know that you always have something going on. Hardware stores can promote upcoming seminars on tile installation, for example. Clothing stores can encourage people to sign up for their newsletter where they announce seasonal arrivals.

The goal is to get people looking beyond Small Business Saturday and plant the idea in their minds that they’ll be coming back one day soon.

5. Front load new customer loyalty program accounts. Give double credits – or more – for people when they join your loyalty program on Small Business Saturday. This gives them an incentive to return soon. Be sure that these bonus points are clearly communicated by signage and your employees. Even the best benefits, if left unannounced, will not serve you.

These five tips should help you transform Small Business Saturday into an event that boosts your bottom line all year long. And remember, the most important thing is to take the long view and focus your energy on this day to convert prospects into loyal customers.