With Thanksgiving getting closer and closer, small businesses of all types are preparing for the busiest time of year—Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. This year, the holiday shopping season will offer a much needed boost to everyone’s bottom line since all sorts of potential customers will be heading out in search for a great deal and a great meal. Of course, the real challenge will be turning that holiday shopper into a loyal customer who’ll return later on.

The good news? There are some simple and affordable action that small business owners can take to ensure guests return after the holiday sales are over. The better news? Every type of business can get customers to return by providing an outstanding customer experience. From quick-service restaurants to autobody shops, boutiques, and everything in between, customers will prioritize your business over others in the local community when they know they’ll be treated well no matter what.

1. Reward customers through a loyalty program

Two hands holding a credit card for payments at a business or restaurant point-of-sale system
There are so many ways to pay on Black Friday, so prepare yourself with the right point-of-sale system. Photo by Van Tay Media / Unsplash

The holiday shopping season is such a thrilling time for customers as they commit to a marathon shopping spree at all their favorite stores and restaurants, alongside their physical and online stores as well. But did you know that a strong loyalty program can help that excitement flourish? By having a tiered loyalty system, there’ll be an extra incentive for existing customers to return and get their money’s worth since Black Friday is all about saving big. You’ll also have the added benefit of growing your small business’s mailing list or restaurant’s customer database, enabling you to stay connected with those new customers year around.

Don’t be shy with your loyalty rewards program tiers either. By limiting what your guests can earn, they could lose some steam when heading to your store. Go beyond a simple percent discount and offer deals on specific products and services that wouldn’t be on sale otherwise at any other time of year. You can even offer a special purchasing hour for specific loyal customers. Get creative to show that your business is eager to reward returning customers.

2. Promote & interact on social media

Don’t let big sellers like Amazon and Walmart steal all the virtual space when it comes to social media for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Since social media is such a vital aspect to any business, your presence on Instagram, Facebook, and other sites can become a testament of your dedication to the customer experience.

Try planning out a social media marketing plan alert your followers that they should get ready to participate in Small Business Saturday alongside the other shopping festivies. Simply upload a photo or write a post each day with specific hashtags related to your business. And don’t just limit yourself to posts either. Interacting with positive comments from customers who have enjoyed your business will show you’re an active business looking and listening to different customers.

Restaurants can especially build some marketing around the Black Friday excitement so guests can have a reason to stop by, then return later on once the shopping rush has calmed down. For example, try creating special dining options for some Black Friday customers looking for a bite after some big savings. Try including some discounts on your own restaurant merchandise as well to join in on the savings season.

Alongside updating your social media, don’t forget to polish up your Yelp profile and Google Business profile before the Black Friday rush begins. Once you’ve claimed your business page, you’ll be able to update business hours and show you’re ready for customers as they plan out their purchases for the holiday season. After claiming your business page, you can then respond to reviews on Yelp and Google, remove Yelp spam comments, and even unfilter “hidden” positive reviews so you have more control over your business reputation.

3. Offer special discounts for different types of shoppers

A child appreciating a holiday shopping window display during Black Friday.
Shoppers of all ages are eager for special discounts this holiday season. Photo by __ drz __ / Unsplash

As a small business owner, you know how your products, services, or menu fit perfectly into your dedicated customer base. However, Black Friday and the rest of the holiday weekend can be a great way to bring in new customers that wouldn’t typically shop at your business. By adding discounts and special shopping hours for new customers, you can break past all the usual Black Friday expectations of large crowds, long lines, and overworked staff members.

If you’re an autobody shop, try offering a discounted auto-repair or service day for newer drivers. Beauty salons and boutiques can do a special “Men’s night” to encourage a new segment of customers to come in and by gifts for the special lady in their lives. Bars and breweries can create a Black Friday happy hour to showcase themed menu items, specialty mocktails, and all the ways you’ve prioritized positive guest experience.

If you’re a restaurant, you can offer special gift cards or even schedule a discounted kid’s night as a reprieve from all the Black Friday shopping. If you’ve got SpotOn’s restaurant point-of-sale system, you can even streamline your operations for larger crowds through features such as Seat & Send, which lets a party order their meals before they’ve even been seated.

4. Use your point-of-sale system and send a holiday gift guide

Mail app on iphone with two marketing email notifications
Email is perhaps the easiest way to reach out to new and old customers. Photo by Brett Jordan / Unsplash

You’re likely to draw in dozens, if not hundreds of first time customers on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. When these new customers walk in through your front doors, looking for deals and another reason to come by later on in the year, you can hand out some simple holiday gift guides. This gesture is a great way to showcase products and services that customers typically wouldn’t purchase. A holiday gift guide is also an easy way for happy customers way to spread the word about your business to friends and families.

If you’re a restaurant, you can create a holiday guide filled with coupons and promo deals for special meals that align with the holiday season. A craft store can create a holiday guide filled with fun holiday-themed crafts that utilize accessories you can only buy at that business, such as special scissors or a certain color of yarn. The possibilities are endless when you know what makes your business unique for new and loyal customers alike.

These holiday gift guides don’t need to be printed as physical copies. You can easily and afordably send virtual gift guides to customers willing to provide an email address. On top of being a cheaper solution than printing out physical copies, virtual holiday gift guides will help you build email lists, where you can easily utilize an email template to alert customers of new items and special offers ahead of time. All you need is the right point-of-sale system that can easily create and store marketing emails.

At the end of the day, the holiday season should be a celebration of all that you’ve accomplished so far, not a moment of anxiety and extra stress. That’s why, with the right tools and planning, you can turn the Black Friday weekend into another reason to celebrate your business and its success as more and more customers return.

When is Black Friday 2023?

This year, Black Friday 2023 will take place on November 24, the Friday after Thanksgiving. While many consumers assume that Black Friday sales are only available that Friday, some businesses offer sales and discounts throughout the entire weekend. Some sales also tend to last throughout the holiday season as well.

Small business owners should post their hours of operation, various sales, and any other vital details on their social media and business websites. This information will help existing customers stay aware with the most up-to-date information available.

When is Small Business Saturday 2023?

Small Business Saturday typically falls on the Saturday after Black Friday. This year, Small Business Saturday 2023 will take place on November 25. Since Black Friday is the day before Small Business Saturday, some small business owners implement a special offer for these different days, while other businesses continue with the same deals.

When is Cyber Monday 2023?

Cyber Monday 2023 takes place on November 27, the Monday after Black Friday. While most people assume Cyber Monday only applies to larger retail sellers like Amazon or Walmart, small business owners can implement special sales for online stores, or online ordering for restaurants, to increase their presence in the digital market. That includes merchandise from a restaurant’s website and items from mom-and-pop shops.

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