6 MIN READ

Taking place on Saturday, December 7th this year, Small Business Saturday is a campaign encouraging consumers to shop locally and support small, independent businesses that are at the heart of communities. Since 2013 here in the UK, following suit from America where it began in 2010 by American Express, small businesses and consumers embrace the day with enthusiasm. There’s plenty of ways you can maximise on the event too, and this blog is to help you plan out brilliant Small Business Saturday ideas to promote your business and drive sales. 

 

Not only does Small Business Saturday raise awareness of how important it is to support independent retailers, but it’s great for business too! 

 

It’s proving to be more successful each year, bringing in high sales and brand awareness for retailers across the UK. Even in its first year, Small Business Saturday helped generate a spend of £468 million for retailers across the UK. Thanks to press coverage, clever marketing, and impressive social media campaigns, it’s going from strength to strength. 2018 was the most popular year yet, bringing in £812 million spend for independent retailers. This is an 8% increase in 2017, which saw £748 million spent – up from £717 million in 2016. It’s clearly a shopping trend on the rise and not something to miss out on. 

 

Here are some fantastic Small Business Saturday ideas you can implement for your retail business this 2019 and make the most of the day.

Tell your story

Something that is often overlooked by businesses is the power of story, and how telling your story will positively impact your business. Everyone can relate to a narrative structure, it’s engaging and draws people in, if done well, they’ll want to get to know you and by the end, they’ll feel like they do. This sense of trust then leads to a higher chance of conversion, people buy from people and a brand story gives your business an identity that consumers can resonate with and feel emotionally connected with. 

Stories shape brands and many independent and small businesses have fantastic ones to tell that really set them apart. This can be a great starting point for beginning your marketing for Small Business Saturday, plus once it’s done and on your website, it’ll help drive in customers after the date too.

Is your brand ethical? 

 

There is a huge demand right now for ethically sourced products and companies to be operating ethical practices. The growing popularity of eco-friendly, organic, sustainable, vegan and cruelty-free products is showing no signs of slowing down as people are becoming more aware of the serious matters surrounding climate change, plastic pollution and animal testing. If you’re a company that has a great story to tell of your backing these great causes, make sure you communicate it to shoppers and weave the narrative into your brand story.

Benefits for consumers 

 

The chance to buy something that not everyone else has is one of the most appealing reasons for consumers to shop with small and independent businesses. People love a one-off, it feels special and meaningful. Advertising your products as handmade, one-of-a-kind, quality, locally-sourced offers an array of attractive benefits for shoppers. This also goes for offering unique shopping experiences, there are plenty of ways you can express yourself across your website branding and customer experience, and instore.

Use social media 

 

There is a fantastic community feel to Small Business Saturday, so it’s a great idea to get involved online. You can get in touch with the campaign organisers themselves and tell them what you’re planning to do for the big day, and they’ll give you a shout out on their social channels too! Engaging with the small and independent retail community on social media is a really nice way to spread awareness, join in and attract customers and new business at the same time.

Think local with your campaigns 

 

Target customers using PPC and local SEO, something that small businesses tend to overlook. It doesn’t have to be super technical and reading up on a few short guides will help you get some foundational understanding. It’s definitely worth investing some time into this. Just think, the first thing you do when wanting to find something out? You Google it. 

You can also look into submitting press releases to announce what you’re doing for Small Business Saturday and your ideas for promoting your goods. Invite local press down for a taster of your store and what you do – it’s a great way to spread awareness and join in with the local community.

Host an in-store event 

 

Going back to how much people love unique experiences, if you’re able to host a special event for Small Business Saturday, it’s worth looking into and investing some time in. You can have an instore theme, special offers to reflect the day, goody bags on offer, etc. You might even consider partnering up with other local businesses to cross-sell to each other’s customer base and attract new shoppers.

Can you make your store Instagrammable? If so, you’re on to a winner – set up a hashtag and tie in with your social media campaigns for the day. Over the course of the event, if people are sharing snaps of your store, it’s a great way to gain User Generated Content to use in your own marketing (just make sure you have their permission first!)

Managing your stock 

More stock going out and increased sales is a great position to be in, but you don’t want to get caught out by not being able to fulfill orders or delays in getting them out on time. Make sure you have efficient processes in place for this date but also over the holiday period at large. Offering bundle deals? Put these items closer together in your stock room or warehouse for easier packing. There’s no right or wrong on how you layout your warehouse, it will vary from retailer to retailer so take the time to plan out what will work for you best.

Get your website ready 

 

Make sure your website is ready for handling extra spikes in traffic at peak times like this – the last thing you want is a slow website where users will inevitably drop off and shop elsewhere. If you don’t already, investing in a cloud-hosted website solution is a great way to make sure your website is ready for anything. 

Communication is key at peak times like Small Business Saturday for managing customer expectations. Display all delivery dates and time scale estimates on your website to avoid disappointed customers. 

Offer an easy checkout process, including guest checkouts if people want to make a quick purchase without creating an account. Consider mobile optimisation too, is your website mobile responsive and can it handle orders from a potential increase of users from mobile devices?

Conclusion 

These Small Business Saturday ideas will hopefully go some way in giving you some inspiration for the big day. It’s an opportunity to get creative and try out new things to promote your business as well as engaging with a wider community of retailers. 

 

 

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Charlotte McKee

31st October 2019

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