Small Business Saturday has been celebrating and supporting small businesses of all shapes and sizes in the UK since 2013. This year it falls on Saturday 3rd December and with it comes great opportunities for promoting your eCommerce store, reaching new customers and building on your relationships with existing ones.
Here are 6 ways to prepare your online store for Small Business Saturday:
Use Their Small Business Finder
The Small Business Saturday website has a directory of businesses that makes a great starting point for customers to find stores that are local to them. If you have a physical store as well as an eCommerce site, adding your business to this directory should ensure that your store is visible to potential new customers drawn in by Small Business Saturday.
These customers will clearly be interested in shopping local and may be more inclined to become loyal customers of your store, if you treat them well.
Join The Social Media Conversation
A huge amount of social media attention is created by Small Business Saturday so you should definitely be throwing your own eCommerce store into the mix. The Small Business Saturday Twitter account is very effective at re-tweeting all small businesses who get in touch with them, so there’s no reason you couldn’t get a little extra national exposure.
Come up with some social media content that enforces the local nature of your business and products. Try to show that you are sustainable and that you support the local community through employing local people, support charities and initiatives or by any other means that are relevant to your eCommerce store.
Small Business Saturday only lasts for 24 hours, so plan your posts ahead of time to maximise the opportunity.
Join The Small Business Saturday Bus Tour
Small Business Saturday doesn’t just cater for physical stores, all kinds of small business are encouraged to take part and joining up with the Small Business Saturday bus tour is a great way to get your eCommerce store involved. The bus tours the UK promoting the day itself as well as offering advice sessions to small business owners and meeting local dignitaries.
Check their website to find out when the tour comes near to you, then plan ahead and make sure you know how your’e going to use the visit to create a buzz around the event and your eCommerce store. You could post short form videos of the event on Snapchat or turn up wearing your store branded clothing.
There may be some invaluable knowledge and exposure available for your small business and posting photos and videos of your experience to your social media following is a great way to let them know about your involvement in Small Business Saturday.
Organise A Local Event
Local events are held across the UK for Small Business Saturday, so try to get involved and organise your own, even if you don’t have a physical store. Really supporting and engaging with the local community shows that you’re invested in the ethos of Small Business Saturday. Put together a market to showcase local businesses and use your eCommerce store’s social media accounts to promote it. You could even hold a celebration event in the local area and invite local businesses. Online stores can have a physical presence too!
A couple of years ago, the town of Grantham ran a food and drink fair for local businesses. Getting involved in something like this is a great way to get your eCommerce business involved with the local community more, and should give you some good content for blog posts and social media.
If you don’t have the time or resources to put on your own event, you could consider sponsoring one instead. This would still attach your brand to the event and you could still use it to promote your store on social media.
Partner With Local Businesses
Partnering with other local businesses or eCommerce stores is a great way to celebrate Small Business Saturday. You could organise a competition for the day or jointly hold an event. Partnering with other businesses really shows your commitment to supporting small and local businesses.
Small Business Saturday is also a good opportunity for promoting any partnerships that you already have. For example, showcasing the local nature of your suppliers or manufacturers. Open up your production process and show people that your support for local businesses runs all the way through your supply chain.
Contact Local Press
Continuing with the local theme of your preparations, get in touch with some local press and offer them a feature on your eCommerce store to coincide with Small Business Saturday. Something along the lines of “eCommerce Business From x town Sells to the World” could go down well. Try to focus on the the value that your business adds to the local community and the success that you’ve had on a national or even international scale.
If you’re looking for more national coverage, contacting bloggers is a good way to go. Focus on how your business and products fit in with Small Business Saturday and send them a sample of one of your best selling products.
Small Business Saturday is an excellent way for eCommerce businesses to connect with their local community. Unlike a bricks & mortar store, many people in the local area may not even know you are there. Painting a picture of community involvement for your eCommerce site can help to humanise you and give your customers confidence that you provide a high quality product with links to your local area.