5 Ways to Make the Most of Small Business Saturday
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Posted by Aaron S. on November 4, 2019 in Retail Focus

In 2018, 42% of Americans said they shopped or dined at local independently owned businesses on Small Business Saturday, which equates to approximately 104 million shoppers in one day. Small Business Saturday is your time to shine and show everyone why your business deserves their time and money. It’s obvious that consumers have embraced this shopping phenomenon and are looking to support local. To ensure you maximize this exposure, it is important to have a well-planned strategy that incorporates key elements like personalizing your customer experience and having a strong connection with your community.

 

Listed below are 5 helpful tips for making your next Small Business Saturday a success:

 

  • Make a local connection to generate a sense of community. People shop on Small Business Saturday specifically to support their local businesses and community. Show your civic pride and let everyone know you are proud to be part of their hometown. Consider inviting a local official or local celebrity to attend your event and have them welcome customers. Be proud of being small and use it to your advantage. Partner with other businesses in your area to work as a team to promote small businesses. If possible, partner with another like-minded small business in your area to put on an event and offer complementary services not available any other time of year. Post each other’s information on your community board, website, and social media to show everyone your business supports other small businesses.
  • Focus on the customer and provide an experience they can’t get online. Start early by soliciting feedback on what your customers need or want and then work to provide it for them in a way no one else can. Offer an experience that gives your customers something they can’t buy online. For example, if you operate a clothing store, consider bringing someone in for the weekend to offer free on-the-spot alterations. Look for ways to personalize your customer experience as much as possible. This might be your only opportunity to make a first impression and create a loyal customer, so don’t miss out on a chance to wow your customer.
  • Have an online marketing plan. Keep in mind that customers use their mobile devices to navigate their shopping plans, so be sure to use your online presence to entice people to experience your store. Have a strong Small Business Saturday message on your website and echo that same message on your social media accounts and with your in-store experience. At the beginning of November, start building anticipation about what you are planning for Small Business Saturday. Consider using social media to share new details about your event each day leading up to Saturday. Most businesses share their origin story somewhere on their website, and Small Business Saturday might be a great opportunity to retell your story in an exciting new way.  
  • Your priority should be personal value, not just price. Don’t focus on competing with big retailers for the lowest possible price. Instead, use your pricing strategy to build value and loyalty. Offer promotions such as bundled pricing, buy two get one free, or spend $50 to get 10% off, as these all provide value to the customer and encourage a larger spend. Bounce-back discounts that offer future savings show value to your customer, but also drive future foot traffic and sales. Focus your efforts on experiences and services that are unique to you and your business. Make sure you offer something for everyone. Just because you don’t sell merchandise for children, for example, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t provide something for children. Parents find value in businesses that understand they don’t shop alone, and providing something like face painting to entertain their children can mean a lot.  
  • Be prepared.  Small Business Saturday is only a single day, and you must be prepared to take advantage of the increased foot traffic. This starts long beforehand by making sure you do everything you can to have enough stock. It also means having a plan for the unexpected. You don’t always know what will be popular, so running out of an item is a real possibility. What happens then? Will you offer a rain check? Will you substitute a similar item? Will you offer something totally different? Regardless of your answer, it is important to have a solution and be prepared to implement it. At the end of the day, you can only sell what you have in stock, but you can always go out of your way to make every shopper’s experience a positive one to remember. 
Aaron S. is our Retail guru
Aaron joined Acuity in 2017 as our Retail Specialist—bringing with him almost 30 years of experience in a broad range of retail. He started his career stocking shelves in the seasonal department at a local retailer. A few years later, Aaron transitioned to a gas station/convenience store, where he worked second shift while getting his degree in organizational communications from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. It was during this time he made the move to the loss prevention and safety aspect of retail. Over the next 25 years, he worked in various retail segments, including video games, cosmetics/skincare, hardware/appliances, pharmacy/grocery, and clothing. Aaron held several positions during this time, including District Loss Prevention Manager, Regional Loss Prevention Manager, Regional Compliance Auditor, and National Manager of Loss Prevention and Operations. Outside work, Aaron likes to spend time with his wife (who has also worked in retail for over 20 years) and their twin teenage boys. They enjoy being outdoors on the water, fishing, and camping. As the Retail Specialist, Aaron’s goal is to enhance the partnership between retailers and Acuity by showing retailers that an insurance company can be a supportive resource and that Acuity truly understands their industry.


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Posted By: Aaron S. on November 1, 2019 in Retail Focus
In retail, offering a great experience has become the expectation businesses must live up to, but what happens if your business is facing an issue with theft or shoplifting? Often, the best way to sell an item is not the best way to protect it. Locking everything up in a glass case or locked cabinet affects your customers' ability to touch, feel, or hold items, which can negatively impact their overall experience.