A decade ago, American Express founded Small Business Saturday to give small businesses across the country an opportunity to grab consumers’ attention amidst the shopping frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.1 On that day last year, shoppers spent a record $19.6 billion, according to the 2019 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey from American Express.2
2020 has been a tough year for small businesses as the pandemic has forced over 100,000 to close down.3 This year, it’s crucial for small businesses to adopt strategies that will help them shine on the most lucrative day of the year in their space.
American Express offers card users extra points and cash rewards when they shop during Small Businesses Saturday.
Utilize your local Chamber of Commerce
Local chambers of commerce plan plenty of events and promotions that small businesses can opt into in order to increase visibility of the day and keep cash circulating in the local economy. With the ongoing pandemic, live events, such as 5Ks, might be out of the question, but there are still ways to get involved.
For example, the Greater Owensboro (Kentucky) Chamber advertises local businesses on the chamber’s website. Each shopper who visits five shops listed on the chamber’s Small Business Saturday cards is eligible to win a $250 gift card. Local business owners who want to be included in the promotion can fill out a form on the chamber’s website. Small businesses that do not participate in these kinds of promotions are leaving money on the table.
Invest in a seamless e-commerce experience
In 2019, e-commerce sales accounted for 3 billion dollars of Small Business Saturday spend.4
Optimizing your site doesn’t need to break the bank. Tactics such as one-click checkout, the ability to add to cart from an email, the ability to check out as guest, responsive web design, increased site speed and fast delivery options are all tried-and-true strategies for e-commerce success.
Envelopes.com incorporated pop-ups that would display after consumers exhibited specific behaviors such as returning to browse or trying to exit the site after placing items in their shopping cart. Envelopes.com also created three separate email campaigns targeting customers at each stage of their buyer journey, with personalized copy. The results: they reduced cart abandonment rate by 40% and increased purchase completions by 65%.5
Help customers find you
During past Small Business Saturdays, customers might have wandered from shop to shop or attended a bazaar. The pandemic means more consumers are shopping online,6
and they need to be able to find you. Making sure that your business is listed in all major digital directories is an important first step and Data Axle offers small businesses the option to list their businesses for free across major online directories.
Ramp up your social media presence
According to Pew Research, nearly three-quarters of American adults use social media,7
which means it’s essential for small businesses to establish a social media presence. Investing in a paid social campaign aimed at a custom audience that resembles your existing best customers is the best way to increase your social media reach.
For small businesses on a budget, there are innovative and free ways to connect with customers on social platforms. Bushwick restaurant, Sweet Chili, frequently engages with their customers on Instagram. The restaurant always reposts any content they are tagged in, to make sure diners know they appreciate the shout-out. Sweet Chili also gives free rice bones to all the neighborhood dogs, and the happy recipients usually post pictures of their dogs chowing down on Instagram. This is a prime example of a small business leveraging user-generated content to give their social media stats a boost and connect with their community.
Create a presence in the community
Small businesses tend to give back to their communities. According to one survey, small businesses donate 250% more than larger businesses to local non-profits and community causes, and 75% of small business owners donate an average of 6% of their profits to charitable organizations annually.8
In addition to contributing money, small businesses can help local charities by giving employees time off to volunteer or providing donations to local food banks or shelters.
Braud’s Funnel Cake Cafe in Las Vegas, NV, sold cakes at concession stands at live event venues throughout the city. With all live-events canceled, owner Donna Braud found herself in a tight spot, so she started selling out of the parking lot of a local restaurant. Once the community found out about her struggles, a local bank sponsored funnel cakes for 20 people. Following their lead, a local hair salon and electrical store stepped in to provide cakes for ten more people each. Once the word got out, the community started buying cakes for one another to ‘pay it forward.’
Partner with another small business
It might seem counter intuitive to partner up with your competition, but there are plenty of ways to work together to drive sales.
G4 by Golpa, a dental office with centers across the U.S., teamed up with other dental implant companies on Small Business Saturday to maximize their brand exposure. Together they organized a “#Milliondollarsmile” giveaway on Instagram. The requirements to enter were to follow all four participating dental companies, like their posts, and tag four friends. The campaign paid off. “By the end of December, we were booked up to May, and revenue increased 45 percent,” said Dr. Mike Golpa, director of G4 by Golpa. “I can safely say it worked for us.”
Small Business Saturday is the most lucrative day of the year for small businesses and, pandemic or not, 2020 is no exception. Small companies should engage with their local community and shore up their marketing strategies in advance of the holiday to maximize their market share.
Read more about how we help small businesses achieve their business goals or contact us with your questions.
As Content Marketing Manager, Natasia is responsible for helping strategize, produce and execute Data Axle's content. With a passion for writing and an enthusiasm for data management and technology, Natasia creates content that is designed to deliver nuggets of wisdom to help brands and individuals elevate their data governance policies. A native New Yorker, when Natasia is not at work she can be found enjoying New York’s food scene, at one of NYC’s many museums, or at one of the city’s many parks with her two teacup yorkies.