It’s that time of year again when holiday shoppers are revving up to spend way more than they should, and business owners are trying to determine the best way to get a cut of the action on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. If you are a small, local business owner, here are 5 ways you can prepare for the busiest shopping weekend of the year.
- Band Together
It won’t be easy enticing people to come to your store with so many bigger retailers vying for consumer attention, especially when you have less resources than some of the bigger national brands. You’ll have more reach if you partner with other local businesses.
Be a retail leader in your community and make sure you and your neighboring businesses all display Small Business Saturday signage prominently. You may also want to leverage digital channels and create a specific local hashtag, something like #ShopSmallSpringfield. Get creative with your efforts. A scavenger hunt around neighborhood shops will engage customers and get them into your stores.
- Sale Schmale – Make it an EVENT
Consumers have come to expect steep discounts during this shopping weekend. What else can you offer them?
Take a different approach this Black Friday and Small Business Saturday by creating a local event. While creativity is key, you don’t have to do anything too complicated to reap huge rewards.
For instance, if you are a local boutique selling skin care products, consider hiring a couple of masseuses to bring in their chairs and give shoppers a free mini massage. For many shoppers, Black Friday weekend is like being in the Superbowl, many will be physically exhausted and welcome a free 10-minute massage. And while they wait their turn they will most likely purchase some soaps and lotions. You have a lot of options so get creative and look for ways to stand out from the crow and entice your local community to visit your store.
- Be Logistically Ready
You’ve taken the time to brainstorm creative marketing ideas but are you prepared to handle an influx of customers? Be sure to check your inventory in the coming weeks. Do you have enough of your most popular items? While you may be hoping merchandise flies off the shelves, will you have more merchandise to replace it? Do you have enough shopping bags and other packaging items?
Equally important, will you have enough staff? You’ll need to talk with your employees to determine who will be in town and available that weekend. If need be, consider hiring temp help for things like gift wrapping and loading customer cars.
- Start Advertising Well in Advance
Consumers typically need to see an ad multiple times before it sinks in and they take action. It won’t be enough to run one newspaper ad the weekend before Black Friday, you’ll want to promote your sales and event for at least four weeks before. Be sure to also run email campaigns and social media campaigns leading up to the weekend, to ensure current customers know what you are planning. Tease people in these communications to drum up excitement and interest. You could have a weekly countdown email.
- Get Customers to Participate in Your Marketing Efforts
You want to be top-of-mind this shopping season with your local community and a great way to get top-of-mind is to have everyone talking about you. Ask your customers through your social media channels to share their recent purchases or experience of your brand. Hold a contest and offer a gift card giveaway to the person who posts the best photo of your cupcakes, candles, or new haircut. The options are endless, just make it fun and rewarding for your current customers to get the word out.
There is little doubt that Black Friday weekend is the hottest retail weekend of the entire year. Be sure you get your cut of the action by following these tips.