American Express’ Small Business Saturday has fast become an American tradition for the Saturday following Black Friday. Small businesses across the country will be celebrating the ninth year of this annual shopping event on Saturday, November 24. It can mean a big day of sales; in 2017 alone, consumers spent almost $13 million. Gear up your small businaess to make the most of profits this Small Business Saturday with these five tips.
1. Promote your participation as soon as possible.
American Express offers materials and resources you can use to promote your business and sales. You can create customizable online, in-store and social media marketing materials. This is a cost-effective way to promote your participation. Print signs and banners at a local printer to support another neighborhood business and get your materials sooner.
2. Prepare digitally.
Online shopping is increasing every year. Make sure your website is up to date with available inventory, all promotional offers and holiday hours. In 2017, almost half of all online retail traffic during the holiday shopping season came from a smartphone, according to data from Adobe. You don’t want to miss out on that traffic, so be sure to check that your website is mobile-friendly for customers shopping on the go.
Schedule social media posts announcing your participation in Small Business Saturday and any sales in advance by spending an afternoon planning out your posts. Reach new customers by advertising with Google Adwords, Twitter and Facebook. You can provide consumers with a customized experience by launching geo-targeted ads to your desired audience.
3. Prepare your team.
The holiday season often requires more employees, but hiring seasonal help can be a challenging process. Get a head start by accepting applications in early November, and in order to get the best help, accept applications in person and online.
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Once your team is in place, training is imperative. Customer service should be your No. 1 priority on Small Business Saturday, and your employees need the necessary skills to help make that priority happen. Teach all your employees to help customers find the proper products, and explain which additional products would complement the rest of their order. Remember, this is the perfect opportunity to turn first-time visitors into life-long customers.
4. Prepare your inventory.
Your distributors may be flooded with other client orders before Small Business Saturday and the rest of the holiday season, so place your orders well in advance. It is essential to have enough inventory to last the weekend, but you should also be judicious in how much you order. You don’t want to run the risk of overstocking. Review your previous year’s performance to get an idea of how much you need to order. Even if you did not actively participate in Small Business Saturday last year, many consumers knowingly shopped at small businesses that weekend. That means previous years’ sales can provide you with a good starting point.
5. Prepare your financing.
Additional employees, marketing materials and inventory will require additional working capital. Finance your Small Business Saturday campaigns by finding the right financing fit to help. You can calculate how much you’ll need to finance your campaigns or secure more inventory by reviewing your previous budget and sales from the prior years.
Some business funding options include SBA loans, merchant cash advances, lines of credit, term loans and invoice factoring. Your financing needs and your business’s credit score will help determine which type of financing option is best. The length of time you can repay the amount you’re looking to borrow is also an important factor in your decision, and the age of your business can affect which products are available to you.
Preparation is key to a successful Small Business Saturday. Consumers will be inundated with messages about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But with some careful planning, you can stand out from your competition, both big and small.