The holiday season is officially upon us, and Small Business Saturday is a great occasion to not only have a bumper sales day, but also attract new customers who can become loyal regulars. The key is to think beyond just attracting a big crowd and focus on creating a great experience for consumers so that they want to come back long after the holidays are over. Here are six steps to do just that.
1. Extend Your Hours
Consumers take this time of the year seriously and commit themselves to marathon-like shopping sessions. To capitalize on this extra foot traffic, extend your hours so that your doors are open when the shoppers are out and about.
2. Offer Seasonal Products and Deals
It’s the season of giving and people are looking for great gifts, so make sure you have something to offer them, whether it’s physical gifts, gift cards, or seasonal services. Offering a discount or deal on these seasonal items is a great strategy for getting people in the door, too.
Just remember that you’re in this for the long haul. After you get people in the door, you want them to see your normal offerings, as well, and get a feel for what your business is all about. That’s what will make them remember you later on and come back.
3. Hold an Event or Team-Up with Other Local Businesses
Sometimes it’s hard to attract a large crowd on your own, even with an attractive holiday offering. If that’s the case, consider hosting a Small Business Saturday event or teaming up with other nearby local businesses to pool your efforts. Sometimes something as simple as having live music or a special cookout is all it takes to get more people in the door.
4. Spread the Word
Big brands certainly have a leg-up on the holidays with their huge budgets for TV commercials and ad campaigns, but you’re not powerless as a small business owner. There are numerous cost-effective tools to let your customers know that you are open on Small Business Saturday, what your hours are, and what special products, deals, and events you have planned.
- Display Small Business Signage. If you don’t have the time to design your own posters, event flyers, and social media covers, take advantage of the free resources from American Express, the company that started Small Business Saturday in 2010 as a way to bring consumer attention to brick-and-mortar businesses across the country and compete with larger companies and online retailers.
- Send a Marketing Email. Contact your customer list via email to let them know your plans for the occasion. If you’re partnered with SpotOn, you can create and send a message in moments using our special Small Business Saturday template.
- Take Advantage of Social Media. Make sure to announce your special products, events, and deals on social media, and include hashtags to broaden your reach beyond your followers. The key hashtags to use are #SmallBizSat, #ShopSmall, and #SmallBusinessSaturday.
5. Make a Good Impression with Great Customer Service
Customers have come to expect crowds, long lines, and overworked staff members when they’re out holiday shopping. If you can exceed their expectations and make their experience a pleasant one, your business will stand out from the competition and those customers will want to come back.
- Make sure you staff enough workers for the day so that everything runs smoothly.
- Retrain your employees on the importance of good customer service, as well as your checkout process, return policy, and gift card options.
6. Add New Visitors to Your Customer List
You are likely to get dozens if not hundreds of first-time customers on Small Business Saturday. If you don’t collect information from these new customers so that you can easily stay connected with them later, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. If you are partnered with SpotOn, there are several easy ways to collect customer email addresses during the checkout process so you can contact them later with marketing messages and deals.
- Ask customers for their email address so you can email their receipt to them after their purchase.
- Offer a Get-it-Now Deal as an incentive to have your customers sign up for your mailing list.
- If you have a loyalty program, make sure your employees are prompting customers to sign up during the checkout process. We recommend you also disable the name requirement from the settings in your SpotOn dashboard, so customers merely need to enter their email address and keep the checkout process moving along.
Do these things successfully, and you'll be capitalizing on a one-day event to help your business thrive for the year to come!
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