Traditionally held the first Saturday after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday was created to support and shop locally. It aims to promote local family businesses, wholesalers, and retailers. Falling on 3 December this year, it promises to be a welcome extension to Black Friday amidst reduced spending power of the man on the street during periods of high inflation.
Why local is lush
The benefit of shopping and supporting local businesses is far bigger than filling up your home with quirky homemade items you won’t find anywhere else. It permeates the community because it creates jobs, levels the playing field with big corporate retailers, and promises to add more than £1.1/BN to local economies. As shoppers head down the high street, there is a real sense of community spirit in the air. They support anything manufactured locally, from handmade cheeses to charcuterie, home-made garments, honey, personalised services to ye old ale brewed in… who cares. Cheers!
American Express launched Small Business Saturday in 2010 in the US. American Express remains the principal supporter of the campaign in the UK by incentivising their cardmembers to support their local small shops with its Shop Small offer. Cardmembers will receive £5 statement credit when they spend £10 or more in-store at participating small businesses.
The campaign has been so successful that it circled out to other small businesses to create Small Business Saturday in its current form.
Take it online
There is no reason shoppers won’t support local businesses online as well as they do on the high street. The challenge is for you as an ecommerce business to recreate that ‘community’ feeling online. Not everybody wants to schlep outdoors to shop. Many people have adopted online shopping as their de facto method of shopping. Take advantage of that. Adapt your offers to suit your community. Donating a certain percentage of sales to your local animal shelter or Salvation Army down the road will go a long way to turn hardened cart abandoners into mushy marshmallows with a hoarding disorder.
Tailor-make your offers
This is the time to get creative with upselling and offers. Why not offer gift cards for the upcoming holiday season, weekly takeout meals, a free gift for all sales above £25, a 20% discount on your next purchase when you spend £25 or more, and free shipping? The possibilities are endless.
Once you’ve decided on your offers, shout them from the rooftop. Create videos, carousels or anything that will catch local shoppers’ attention. Remember that you can geo-target your marketing campaigns on most social media platforms. Using the feature will concentrate your offers and maximise your budget. Remember to update your details on the Shop Small Map.
Ramp up your content
Although it is always a great idea to have the best content on your site, it’s now more important than ever. It’s not enough to just list a hot tub. Film a video of how people enjoy their hot tubs, the health benefits, or how children enjoy them. These are just a few ideas. Let your imagination run wild. Remember, you compete with all the noise from Black Friday and Cyber Monday generated by big brands with massive marketing budgets. Nothing competes with original content. If you get it right and localise properly, you’ll benefit from this market for the rest of the year.
Village people know each other by name
If you’ve ever lived in a small community, you’ll know the tremendous importance of people’s names. Although you might not reach the charming heights of John the Baker, Harry the Potter, or Stinky the Cheesemaker, you can personalise any communication you send to Small Saturday shoppers. Use their first names in all emails, confirmations of orders and follow-up marketing materials. You might just buy their loyalty that way.
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