Small Business Saturday: Preparing for This Year’s Event

Jonathan Dyer
Oct 14, 2016 · 3 min read

Not only is the holiday season quickly approaching us but so is Small Business Saturday — the now eight-year-old “holiday” created to encourage consumers to support their local stores. Last year 112 million consumers shopped or dined at small business on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, marking a 13% increase from 2015. With this year’s Small Business Saturday falling on November 25th now is the time to start preparing and promoting your festivities.

Shop Small Studio

Last year American Express introduced their Shop Small Studio, which they’re opening once again for this year’s event. The Studio site makes it easy for businesses to create customized promotional materials announcing their Small Business Saturday participation. These assets can then be used for flyers, social media ads, or on store websites to help raise awareness for the big day. The Shop Small Studio site also includes short videos and articles with more tips for how to get the most out of Small Business Saturday.

Create a sale strategy

What makes Black Friday the retail behemoth that it is are all of the doorbuster deals and bonus offers that stores advertise. Although the big box locations clearly have an advantage when it comes to offering loss leaders, good deals are a huge part of managing a successful Small Business Saturday. Because of this you’ll want to give some serious thought to the kinds of offers that will bring in customers without giving away the whole store.

One good plan to prevent shrinking away your profit is to put limits on your top deals. For example maybe the first 50 people through the door in the morning get 40% off of a purchase of up to $100 while the next 100 only get 20% and the rest get 10%. Another clever strategy is to offer a modest discount on Small Business Saturday but reward shoppers with bonus coupons to be used at a later date — the more they spend, they more coupons they get. This could potentially help turn what would be a one-time shopper into a loyal customer, making Small Business Saturday a big win for you.

Reach out to other business owners

Small Business Saturday is meant to be a community event so why not embrace that concept by partnering with other local businesses? Perhaps you could offer special prizes to customers who make purchases at all of the locations you choose to team up with. Obviously this plan works best with businesses that complement yours instead of directly competing but feel free to get creative to make a memorable event for your community.

Create gift bundles

One tip that American Express themselves is touting is the idea of creating themed gift bundles to sell on Small Business Saturday. This could be as simple as putting together “For him,” “For her,” For mom,” etc. packages or you could get more detailed and bundle products by interests. Doing this will make it easy for shoppers who might not have ever been to your store to find the perfect gifts for their loved one. Additionally you can encourage the sales of these bundles by offer a great deal on them and perhaps even throwing in some bonus items.

Start spreading the news

While the popularity of Small Business Saturday has been growing steadily since 2010 there are still many who don’t know about it. That’s why, even if you aren’t 100% on what your special offers will be just yet, it’s not too early to start promoting your participation and excitement. Post a sign in your store window, make flyers, and post to all of your social media outlets that you’re proud to be a small business and would love to see all of your fans and neighbors on November 26th. You could even run a special where, if a customer brings a friend and they both make purchases, they get an additional discount or gift just for spreading the word. Again, creativity is key.


The kick-off to the holiday shopping season is just around the corner and so is Small Business Saturday. With some smart planning, clever marketing, and hustle to get the word out, your business could not only enjoy a successful Small Business Saturday but also raise awareness for your store overall. Have a great holiday season and remember to #ShopSmall.


Originally published at Dyer News.

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