Small Business Saturday 2021: more important than ever

Small Business Saturday 2021 is more vital than it has ever been for local businesses. Millions of American businesses have permanently closed due to the pandemic, and Small Business Saturday is an annual event that intends to bolster support and sales for local retailers, so hopefully they can survive and thrive through this crazy time in history. 

Let’s go over some basics about Small Business Saturday, and then we’ll talk about three ways you can maximize the positive impact of this “Shop Small” holiday this year and throughout the year to come.

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What is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday is an annual event on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It was started by American Express in 2010, and has continued to grow in popularity and local support ever since.

The “Shop Small” movement is growing as local retailers, restaurants, shops, and even online-only businesses feel the pressure from big-box retailers and huge multi-billion-dollar corporations that are intent on carving out a space in local markets.

According to American Express’s Shop Small survey, 80% of consumers surveyed are likely to seek out small businesses rather than huge retailers for their holiday purchases. This is good news for small businesses struggling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 57% of small business owners expect their sales will not recover until beyond the second half of 2021. A successful Small Business Saturday can go a long way toward improving that outlook.

When is Small Business Saturday 2021?

Small Business Saturday 2021 is on November 27. It falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday each year.

3 ways you can maximize your Small Business Saturday success

1. Extend your business’s hours

When you have more people visiting your store, it makes sense to extend your regular operating hours to accommodate the additional traffic and maximize sales.

Be sure to update your business’s website and other online resources like Google My Business and Yelp with your correct holiday hours so people aren’t disappointed. Also remember to email your customer list (if you have one) and let them know, as well as posting on your social media platforms.

2. Hire more help

Even if you need to hire temporary workers just to cover this important weekend, it can be worth it. As Womply’s studies have previously shown, Saturdays are the busiest days of the week for local retail anyway, and Small Business Saturday is significantly busier than that. 

However, hiring additional workers may be a tall order in today’s shaky retail environment, as nearly half of small businesses have job openings they can’t fill. Offering incentives and bonuses for full-time or temporary workers can pay off big, though, if you can leverage the additional help into exponentially greater sales.

The benefits of hiring more help include more effective inventory management, a faster and more satisfying shopping experience, and quicker checkout. These benefits (and more) can delight customers and increase your chances of getting positive reviews, earning repeat business (see below), and improving local SEO results for your business.

3. Focus on earning repeat customers

One great thing about Small Business Saturday is the increase in foot traffic for local businesses, which means you’re potentially selling to a lot more new customers. Be sure to gather all the information you can about these new and repeat customers so you can encourage them to return throughout the year for repeat sales.

For local businesses, setting up a complicated digital loyalty program may be a stretch, but even something as simple as having a stack of cards set up by the checkout register with a sign saying “provide your email and get 10% off your next purchase” can be effective at gathering customer email addresses.

Be creative and proactive about asking (nicely) for customers’ contact information, and think of an incentive that can encourage them to provide it. We’ve prepared 3 creative ways to build a customer loyalty program so you can market to your current customers, you can turn many of them into repeat customers that are worth up to 5X more than a new customer.

Go deeper: 6 elements of an effective loyalty program

Also, many modern small business payment solutions offer data resources that can gather customer info to help you build a loyal base of repeat customers. 

Stay on top of your online reviews to encourage new and repeat business

Beyond focusing on creating a memorable and satisfying customer experience on Small Business Saturday (and throughout the year), another vital aspect of local business success is getting reviews and recommendations on all your online business pages and review site profiles. This helps provide social proof that other people have used and enjoyed your products or services, and can bring more new customers to your business. 

Reputation management software allows you to easily remind your customers that you appreciate their feedback, and you can manage and respond to all your reviews from one dashboard with one login, saving you valuable time every week. Learn more when you sign up for Womply Free, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights!

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