The Keys to a Successful Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday 2021 will be on November 27th. Although it will undoubtedly be different again this year, it’s more important than ever to reconnect with your community and create a customer experience that focuses on the unique relationship that makes local, small businesses and the communities they serve so special.

With that in mind, here are a few things you can do to have a successful Small Business Saturday (and every day).

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Start Planning Now

One of the most important things about any seasonal event or promotion is planning well, and Small Business Saturday is no exception. Think not only about who you’ll want to attract but also how you’ll get them in the door or online, and what you’ll do to convey your event is not to be missed.

Lean on your email strategy to keep November 28th top-of-mind and let them know what’s at stake if they miss out.

Most importantly, you need to make decisions now about what deals or specials you’re going to offer and how your customers will use them. Is it that important that they show up in person, or are you going to provide the same discounts to online shoppers?

Take the In-Store Experience Online

More than one-third of consumers have shopped online weekly since the start of the pandemic, up 28%. To adjust, look at ways to take your in-store experience online.

That means focusing on what makes your in-store experience special. How do you translate that to a new customer while still giving them the convenience and safety they expect?

You might need to start thinking about online selling differently than you have in the past. Previously, you may have had your inventory listed online and offered customers a way to order off the backend.

In 2020, however, you’ll need to provide customer service and answer questions in ways you may not have considered before. For many industries, the same customer experience isn’t possible in the face of COVID, so you’ll have to find ways to translate that into an online experience.

Plan for Social Distancing and In-Store Safety

If you’re in a state or city where in-store shopping is possible, plan how you’ll accommodate changing consumer needs to make everyone feel safe and comfortable. For one thing, social distancing needs to be a priority. If your business’s location is small, you’ll need to limit the number of people allowed inside at any given time. That might mean you need to post someone at the door to keep track of traffic and let people know that someone is there to care for them even if they can’t enter your store immediately upon arrival.

Other considerations involve the availability of hand sanitizer, and other PPE. Look at this as an opportunity to show that your business cares about customers, their well-being, and safety.

Be clear about things like how your restrooms work, where someone should stand to minimize contact, and how they should ask for help. When in doubt, refer to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) for guidance.

Pickup and Delivery Service Options

One of the most important things to realize about the pandemic is that an individuals’ tolerance for risk will vary. What is a big deal for one person may not be so important to someone else, and, as a small business, it’s important to address the different preferences. For Small Business Saturday, that might mean finding pickup and delivery options that make it easy for someone to participate in your sale without necessarily joining you in person.

One delivery option available to many small businesses is Uber, which is adding more and more delivery options to help accommodate our increasing need to support each other while maintaining distance. While that may or may not work for your business, it’s important to remember that you may need a wide array of pickup and delivery service options in order to make everyone feel comfortable. Customers will work with you to figure out a solution that suits them, so build in some flexibility, and you’ll reap the rewards.

Spread Small Business Saturday Special Offers Out

Finally, there’s no reason that your Small Business Saturday offers need to be confined to one day or only for people who show up in-person. Spread your offers out so everyone isn’t showing up at the same time and creating a crowd. Instead, look to stagger your special offers out so everyone can feel safe and comfortable while still giving you the business boost you’re looking for from Small Business Saturday.

What You Can Do Right Now

Yes, Small Business Saturday will be different in 2021, which means you need to spend extra time innovating, planning, and executing. Being safety-conscious will communicate to your customers that you care about their well-being. A little extra planning and accommodation can buy a lot of credibility when it comes to wooing repeat customers who will return for years to come.

  • Find ways to translate your in-store experience to online shopping.
  • Plan for social distancing now.
  • Have pickup and delivery options in place.
  • Spread your offers out to avoid crowding.
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