Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday sits Small Business Saturday, a day for people to shop small and local.
Okay, background: American Express created Small Business Saturday in 2010 as a way for small businesses to get more exposure during one of the biggest shopping days of the year as well as to support those small businesses that help invigorate the economy. Over the past few years, the day has gained exposure and has recently gained support from well-known businesses like FedEx, Facebook, Twitter, Dell and Ace Hardware to name a few. There are no comparable sales data for previous years, but pre-holiday surveys estimated shoppers would spend $5.3 billion in 2012. In actuality, U.S. consumers spent $5.5 billion, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.
By shopping local, shoppers are directly putting money back into the community. For every $1.00 spent at a local business, 45 cents is reinvested locally, according to Think.
Shop. Buy. Stay Local!
When shopping non-locally, 15 cents at most go back to the community. Think about it: local businesses give back more to the community and more jobs stay in the community, as well. AMEX business credit card holders receive perks to shopping locally: 100,000 members were rewarded a $25.00 rebate for shopping at local, independent stores the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
It Really Works
Small businesses from all over the U.S. found significant increases in their end-of-day totals. A rare book company told Forbes that they saw sales increase by 400 percent. Distinctive Gardens, a small nursery in Dixon, Illinois increased their sales by 45 percent. And DJ Crater, a clothing boutique in Chatham, New Jersey increased sales by $10,000.
To keep your small business going strong all year, be proactive. Every small business should take advantage: From brick-and-mortar stores to restaurants or online-only businesses, there’s a lot you can do all year long to promote your business and prepare for the next Small Business Saturday.
Use Social Media
Over 3.2 million users of Facebook have “liked” the Small Business Saturday page and more than 213,000 tweets were sent in support of the day on Nov. 24. To promote your business, definitely think about starting a Facebook page or Twitter account if you haven’t already. One million websites have integrated with Facebook and 23 percent of all users check the site five or more times daily, according to Huffington Post.
Think About Your Customers
Before you announce a sale or brainstorm the next promotion, think about your customers … who exactly are you trying to sell to? New customers looking for deals or current customers that you can reward for loyalty?
Try Something New
If you’ve always wanted your business to venture into giving complimentary services or large discounts, try it out! You don’t have to offer these deals all year but using those promotions here or there will bring in new customers, increase your sales and bring traffic to your social media sites.