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A retailer’s last-minute Small Business Saturday checklist

Shoppers at a local boutique shop during Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday is right around the corner, coming this weekend on November 25th. Started over a decade ago, Small Business Saturday is marked each year during Thanksgiving weekend.

What’s Small Business Saturday?

Coming right after Black Friday, which mostly benefits larger companies, Small Business Saturday is meant to celebrate and give back to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). You know, the businesses that serve as the backbone of the American economy. 

This year, 72% of U.S. consumers intend to do their holiday shopping at small businesses. That’s up from 65% last year, which still translated to $17.9 billion in sales during Small Business Saturday. So, it’s a pretty big deal for SMBs, especially for brick-and-mortar retailers that are likely to enjoy higher than usual foot traffic. 

6 things you can do right now to make Small Business Saturday a success

While it may be too late to build a full marketing plan in time for the event, there are still some things you can do now to maximize your potential earnings during this lucrative day.

✅ Make sure you’re on the map

Many consumers interested in supporting small businesses are going to use the Shop Small map by American Express to find establishments near them. Make sure you get a piece of the action by registering your business at least three days in advance. 

You can do that by logging in to the system to enter your details and opt in to show your business on the map. Follow up again before the weekend to make sure you’re included and reach out to customer support if you still can’t find your business.

✅ Review your inventory

Check what you have in stock to figure out what items you can easily offer at a discount or some kind of bundle deal on Saturday. Look for items that you either have too many of, are perishable with upcoming sell-by dates, or simply take up a lot of storage space that you can put to better use.

You can’t compete with some of the prices big retailers offer in their holiday sales but conscious consumers who are actively looking to support SMBs are aware of that. Still, they’re likely to appreciate even a small price cut in this expense-heavy time of year.

✅ Offer incentives

On top of discounts, there are other types of perks you can offer customers to make them appreciate your business and keep them coming back.

You can, for example, offer a small gift like a keychain, a headband, or even a homemade Christmas cookie with every purchase made on Saturday or when customers share your business on social media.

You can also add a complimentary greeting card to every gift you wrap. If it’s branded, it’ll double as (almost) free advertising for your business.

Another idea is to hold a raffle, giving a ticket for every purchase over a certain amount, depending on the type of products you sell and the value of the prizes you can offer.

✅ Spread the word

Make sure everyone knows your store is open and participating in Small Business Saturday. Create clear messaging that includes your opening hours on Saturday as well as any special promotions you’re offering to shoppers that day. 

Easy ways to inform existing and potential customers about your Small Business Saturday plans include: 

  • Adding a banner to your website
  • Sending out a newsletter to existing customers
  • Taping a physical sign to your shop window or door 
  • Posting on your business’s social media pages or even your personal ones so friends and family can help by sharing

✅ Make your store more welcoming

Make sure your store is looking its best on the big day. Take some time to tidy up removing clutter and outdated stock so customers feel comfortable and find what they need.

Consider hanging some decorations or even offering a few refreshments like hot cocoa or nonalcoholic punch, which are inexpensive and can be made in large portions in advance. With a drink in their hands, customers will know they’re welcome and will be more likely to stick around and rummage to find what they’re looking for.

✅ Motivate your team

With more people coming in, you’ll likely need more working hands than usual to make this day a success. Ask your team to be available for work on Saturday and explain how important the boost in sales can be for your shop.

Keep your team motivated and alert by offering larger commissions on sales or a bonus for the day’s work. You can also hold a friendly contest between employees with the person bringing the most in sales getting a special prize like a spa day or movie tickets, depending on your budget. 

Another great option is to organize a team dinner the following week, either at a restaurant, at the store, or, better yet, your home, to personally thank them for their hard work and contribution to the success of the day.

Ready, set, sell

Use the last few days before Small Business Saturday to check the items off this list and ensure a successful sales day. 

Still need to stock up for the holidays? Sign up for Melio to pay for your wares with a credit card*, even if your vendors don’t accept cards. You can also pay with an ACH bank transfer at no additional cost or, if you’re in a hurry, use one of Melio’s fast payment options, so your vendors get paid as early as today. The choice is yours.

*This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice.
**Melio does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice, and you should consult with a professional advisor before making any financial decisions.