AUGUSTA, November 20, 2017—The morning after Thanksgiving may be the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, but more and more shoppers are bypassing the malls to find unique gifts—and support their friends and neighbors—on Small Business Saturday.
“If you’re a local merchant, you can’t afford to skip Small Business Saturday,” said David Clough, Maine state director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
Last year, shoppers spent $15.4 billion at locally-owned stores and restaurants on Small Business Saturday, according to a survey by NFIB and American Express. The number of shoppers who shopped small on Small Business Saturday was up 13 percent from 2015, the survey said.
Clough said it’s not too late for small businesses to come up with a plan for Small Business Saturday:
- Remind shoppers that you sell merchandise they can’t find anyplace else. Sixty-one percent of shoppers say they shop at small businesses to find “unique products,” according to NFIB.
- Showcase the merchandise that would make a great gift. “Your customers will be looking for presents for themselves as well as for their friends and family,” Clough said. “You might want to put a group of items on a table with a sign saying it would be the perfect gift for Dad or a great gift for the grandparents.” Restaurants can do the same thing by offering SmallBusiness Saturday specials and promoting gift cards, he said.
- Steal a page from the Black Friday playbook and offering “doorbusters.” “The chains know a great way to drive shoppers to their stores is by offering special deals at different times of the day,” Clough said. “There’s no reason a small business can’t do the same thing.”
- Stay on top of your social media. “If you’re on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest, be sure to post often and promote any SmallBusiness Saturday deals,” Clough said. “You should also consider spending a few bucks to promote your posts. That way, people will be more likely to see them.” Use the hashtags #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSaturday so shoppers can find you easily.
“Small Business Saturday is an opportunity for shopkeepers to really shine,” Clough said. “This Saturday will afford them the chance to win customers who will continue to support them throughout the year.”