This Saturday, 5th December, marks the third annual UK Small Business Saturday. The event centres around celebrating and supporting local independent businesses, who maybe can’t afford the large discounts offered over the Black Friday weekend by bigger brands. So what can you do in time for the weekend to ensure you get the most out of Small Business Saturday?
Holding an event in your store can be a great way to drive footfall and make your customers feel involved. Even something as simple as having free drinks and a bite to eat on offer can catch the attention of passers-by and create the feeling of a special occasion.
If you do want to go a little further with your event, if space allows, hiring a local musician to play in your store can also attract attention.
Extending your opening times by a couple of hours can be an effective, and easy way to gain from Small Business Saturday.
Not only does staying open later increase your chances of more customers coming to your store by chance, but it also makes visiting your store more convenient for your current customers, who may have to rush if they were to visit during usual business hours.
Offering an incentive to visit and buy from your store is also effective in driving traffic and sales. Providing your current customers with a special Small Business Saturday loyalty discount can create a sense of togetherness with your customers, and will not only increase sales, but improve sentiment towards your brand as well.
For your newer customers, offering a free gift with every purchase, or the opportunity to sample one of your products on Small Business Saturday only can act as extra encouragement to visit your store, and the fact that they will only be able to do this on one particular day creates a feeling of exclusivity.
One thing that will always increase engagement with your brand and attract some new customers is holding a competition - and theming it around supporting local businesses will keep it relevant to the event.
How customers are able to enter and how they can get involved can be easily tailored to fit the nature of your brand, but offering a prize such as a free product or a gift card will bring it back to your brand, and help to increase awareness.
There’s no better way to celebrate local organisations than to run a campaign that supports a local charity or cause that’s close to your heart - and relates to your business. On Small Business Saturday, the focus will be on local independents, meaning that this is a great time to kickstart your campaign so that you can end it just in time for Christmas.
This campaign can be easily tied in with the other things you are doing for Small Business Saturday, as you may offer donations in return for competition entires, or you may use your in-store event to host a fundraiser.
Holding an event or running a campaign around Small Business Saturday will only be worthwhile if people know about it - so if you haven’t already got the word out, it’s important you do this quickly.
If you have a database of your customers’ email addresses, sending out an email to promote what you’re doing, and publishing regular reminders on social (before and during the event) can have a strong impact. To catch the attention of nearby shoppers, posters and A-boards can also be effective in attracting people to your store in the spur of the moment.
Read our previous blog for more ways to use digital to increase in-store footfall in time for Small Business Saturday, and visit them for more ways to get involved with the event, as both a business and a customer.