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10 Wins on Small Business Saturday

The holiday shopping season will be here before you know it. On Nov. 30, Small Business Saturday will draw millions of shoppers to independent retailers in their communities—and you won’t want to miss out. Here are 10 ways to capitalize on Small Business Saturday in your operation.

1. Customize your creative
American Express, which sponsors the annual event, offers customizable promotional materials for small businesses to use during the event. Visit the Shop Small® Studio online to explore options and create materials easily. Display them in your store leading up to the event to inform your customers you’ll be participating.

paintbrush and palette2. Get Crafty
The weekend after Thanksgiving is known for long lines and stampeding shoppers. Let your customers slow down with a seasonal experience like wreath-making or decorating ornaments. These activities will bring customers to your store and send them home with memories of your business.


donut and drink3. Make It Tasty
Attract customers to your store and thank them for stopping by on Small Business Saturday with a seasonal treat. Offer hot chocolate and cookies to visitors, or team up with a local food truck to offer something more substantial. Treating your customers to a tasty bite will spice up the celebration. It’s even stronger if you can rope in a local eatery.


4. Become a Neighborhood Champion
American Express offers robust resources to retailers who volunteer to become Neighborhood Champions. They do more than prepare their stores for the big day. They commit to rallying the neighborhood in celebration by planning fun events, coordinating a campaign with multiple businesses and drumming up enthusiasm among residents. 

cellphone messages5. Be Social
Much holiday shopping has moved online, and so can your Small Business Saturday celebration. While in-store celebrations remain essential, your business can leverage shop-small enthusiasm to encourage online engagement. The buzz generated from sharing the shopping event and related content on social media can turn online fans into brick-and-mortar customers.

6. Promote Other Businesses
If you can’t commit to serving as a Neighborhood Champion, you can still participate. Help neighboring shops create a festive ambience or work together to make a local shopping guide for the businesses on your block. Effective cross-promoting helps you expand the impact of your celebration and reach more customers.

donation7. Give Back
Holiday shopping is about giving, so invite customers to give back while they’re shopping. Donate a portion of your profits to a local charity or invite them to set up a booth in your store. Connecting your business to a worthy cause helps customers feel good about their purchases.


8. Stay small
You can—and should—go big for Small Business Saturday, but the celebration should be true to your business’s local and independent nature. Early-morning openings and flash deals may work for the big boxes, but customers expect a different experience from small businesses. Maintain your everyday commitment to providing tailored customer service and expert advice, even on the busy days, and craft a celebration that reflects your local character.

campaign9. Join a Local Campaign
To stay true to your local character, look for a local campaign you can join. Many Main Street organizations or buy-local groups will organize Small Business Saturday campaigns and holiday celebrations for their downtown districts. When your community kicks off its holiday season, be there to support the fun.


10. Reflect on the Experience
The holiday shopping season is busy, but taking time to reflect helps you make valuable observations. Small Business Saturday has grown exponentially in recent years, and setting yourself up for future success can help your own celebration grow, too.

About Bill Brunelle

Co-founder, Independent We Stand --- Independent We Stand (IWS) educates communities about the benefits of supporting locally owned businesses. IWS inspires small business owners to celebrate their locally owned status and helps consumers understand their value. IWS is sponsored by STIHL, Do it Best Corp. and PPG Paints.

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