NMSBDC (Photo: Courtesy photo)
Small Business Saturday falls on November 28, 2020, the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Created by American Express, this holiday celebrates small businesses and getting consumers to participate in the #ShopSmall movement in their local communities and neighborhoods.
Small Business Saturday will be entering its 11th anniversary in 2020. In a year unlike any other, support for small businesses is just as critical now as it was at the start of the pandemic. That being said, however, non-retail businesses have often struggled to receive the same kind of attention as retail counterparts. This is made a bit more difficult due to the pandemic. Certain incentives for visiting non-retail storefronts, such as offering free refreshments to entice visitors and mingling with members of the community, have been temporarily shelved until it’s safe for businesses to do it again.
These minor hurdles, however, do not mean that non-retail businesses can’t join in on the fun. They simply have to think outside of the box. Get creative and make spirits merry and bright this Small Business Saturday with the help of these simple strategies.
Shop Small Map
One of the most helpful ways to alert the local community that you are participating in Small Business Saturday is to put yourself on the map – literally.
The American Express website has an easy-to-use function that allows small businesses to add themselves to their Shop Small map. Once your business has been added to the map, visitors to the website have the ability to search by business name and location. This gives them the chance to locate the nearest businesses to their community and learn more about their Small Business Saturday activities.
Customer shopping habits have changed amid the COVID-19 landscape. Due to social distancing guidelines and requirements to wear masks, storefronts now have a limit on the number of people that can be inside a building and properly distanced. The focus is no longer on seeing which storefront can get the most foot traffic or create the biggest eye-catching outdoor event.
Now, it’s critical to meet the needs of customers and reach them where they are at. This gives non-retail small businesses a unique opportunity to reach out to their customer base and see what they would like on Small Business Saturday.
How can non-retail businesses best accommodate their customers while keeping in the Small Business Saturday fun? Some of the answers you might receive, after surveying customers for their input, may include the following:
• Livestreaming on social media platforms. Sites like Instagram, Periscope, and Facebook allow businesses to go live with their followers. Not sure what kinds of live videos your audience would prefer to watch? Poll your fans and see which answers are a hit. You may share a live tutorial for tips on making the most of your services or create a video of a team member answering commonly asked questions in your industry.
• Introducing shopping options. Keep in mind that the day after the weekend after Thanksgiving is often quite cold outside. Shoppers, especially those that have become accustomed to staying home, may be less inclined to go out on Small Business Saturday. Can you still provide curbside pickup or delivery services? Is it possible to place an order through a mobile app or over the phone? If you made changes to your business during COVID-19 to ease the shopping and overall customer experience, see what you can keep and use on Small Business Saturday.
• Keeping everyone in the loop via email campaigns. These may extend beyond Small Business Saturday and cover the holiday season. Create email campaigns that provide updated information about your business during the holiday months. Are you changing shopping hours? Offering special deals or discount promotions to first-time shoppers? Make sure your emails cover the latest news in your business and appropriate contact information if there are any questions or concerns.
Partner with other small businesses
One of the best ways to celebrate Small Business Saturday is to keep an eye out for ways your business can help support local small businesses. Non-retail businesses may consider establishing a partnership with other neighboring businesses.
This kind of partnership has the ability to take a few forms. You might partner with the business simply because of the holiday. If your non-retail business is in the same strip mall as other small businesses, for example, you may consider celebrating altogether.
Deborah Sweeney is the GM & VP, Small Business Services at Deluxe Corporation. She is an advocate for protecting personal and professional assets for business owners and entrepreneurs.
The Small Business Development Center at Western New Mexico University provides assistance to anyone interested in beginning, improving, or expanding a small business. The SBDC specializes in no-cost, one-on-one confidential consulting and low-cost training. Call 575-583-6320 for an appointment with a business advisor, or email email@example.com. More information may be found at http://www.nmsbdc.org/silver-city.aspx.
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