Observed on the Saturday after Thanksgiving Day every year, Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday that falls between the Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the busiest shopping periods of the year. For 2016, Small Business Saturday has been scheduled on November 29th, the Saturday post Black Friday.
A Brief History of Small Business Saturday
Started in 2010 by the American Express, Small Business Saturday is essentially an acknowledgement to the significant role small businesses play in the American economy.
Small businesses arguably drive the American economy contributing to its GDP and creating numerous jobs. In fact, the US Census Bureau data in 2012 stated there were an astounding 5.73 million small businesses in the United States with a majority of them employing less than 500 workers, while 89.6% of the businesses surveyed had fewer than twenty employees.
With small businesses dominating the American economy, it’s no surprise that they also significantly contribute to the country’s employment landscape.
Between 1993 and mid-2013, a survey by the SBA’s Office Advocacy found American small businesses were responsible for generating approximately 63% of net jobs in the United States.
Needless to say, the idea behind celebrating Small Business Saturday was to acknowledge the importance of the small business community and encourage consumers to support them by shopping from small retailers on a specific day of the year.
One of the financial behemoths in the US, American Express pioneered Small Business Saturday on November 27th, 2010.
The prime objective behind creating Small Business Saturday was to initiate a movement to promote the interests of small businesses and encourage American shoppers to support small retailers and merchants.
Since both Black Friday and Cyber Monday promote the large retail chains and ecommerce businesses, American Express wanted to preserve the interests of small businesses and boost their economy during holiday shopping.
In 2010, creation of Small Business Saturday was particularly relevant to the times when the American economy was reeling under recession and most consumers and small businesses were finding it hard to make ends meet.
While many believed the movement wouldn’t bring much difference to small retailers, the resounding success of the event in previous years has positioned Small Business Saturday as a historic movement gaining tremendous support from American consumers.
Small Business Saturday Stats
Small Business Saturday has seen unbelievable success since 2010. Small Business Saturday Consumer Insight Survey by NFIB and American Express conducted a survey to find a jaw-dropping 95 million shoppers supported small business enterprises in their locality during Small Business Saturday, 2015.
Furthermore, holiday spending reached a staggering $16.2 billion during the same period. Compared to Small Business Saturday, 2014, the small business community in the United States registered an eye-popping 114% boost during the holiday season in 2015.
Small Business Saturday has made an indelible impact on consumers, with 55% of US consumers stating they are fully aware of the holiday and a whopping 83% saying it inspires them to buy from small business enterprises across the year as well.
Based on the gravity-defying growth over past years, consumer spending during the holiday season in 2016 is projected to see a 10% increase over last year. In fact, American Express has announced a 2x reward points for their card holders if they shop at any small retailer between now and the end of the year.
How You Can Get Involved?
Whether you’re a wholesaler, family business, local shop, small manufacturer, or ecommerce business, you can get involved in Small Business Saturday, 2016 in the following ways.
Register for Small Business Saturday
Small businesses can register themselves for SBS at American Express and get free marketing materials. While this is not mandatory for SBS participation, it will give you a competitive edge because many businesses are either not aware of this or think it’s not really worth it.
Train Staff to Connect with Customers
Small Business Saturday presents an abundance of opportunities to expand your customer base by connecting with people and forging a long-term relationship, which eventually pays off in terms of repeat business.
Therefore, you should train your front-line staff to greet new customers and treat them with courteous behavior. Even if they don’t buy anything, they’re likely to come back some other day.
Refine Facebook Strategy
If you’re using Facebook Ads to promote your small business, you need to redefine your strategy before Small Business Saturday begins.
Try to target friends of Facebook users who have already liked your page and are living within a short drive from your shop.
This will help you reach out to potential buyers who are interested in buying local.
Use Hashtags in Tweets
Remember to follow @ShopSmall on Twitter a week prior to SBS event and try to connect with prospective buyers who are interested in buying local.
Furthermore, use hashtags (#SmallBizSaturday and #ShopSmall) while tweeting about any special discounts or complimentary offers, which should set you up for the big day in advance.
The burgeoning popularity of Small Business Saturday every year makes it a lucrative marketing opportunity for small enterprises, not just to boost their sales revenues on the big day itself but tap into potential customers and establish a long-term relationship with their customers.
Have you ever participated in Small Business Saturday? What were your biggest takeaways as a small business entrepreneur?