Seven Ways to Prepare Your Business for Small Business Saturday
November 19, 2018
Thanksgiving weekend has become an extremely competitive time for retail businesses; not only do they have to prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but as of 2010, the Saturday after Thanksgiving has been dubbed “Small Business Saturday.” This day (created by American Express) is focused on encouraging more support for local businesses. As of last year, American Express reported that 90% of consumers surveyed found that a day dedicated to supporting small businesses had a positive effect on their communities; additionally, it was found that over 100 million people went out to shop on Small Business Saturday in the past few years.
American Express has a range of tools that SMBs can and should use to help them get involved with Small Business Saturday. Below, we’re offering additional steps on how you can make sure you’re ready for the spike in store and/or website visits and that you’re fully taking advantage of the opportunity to capture new customers:
Refresh Your Brand Image
One major challenge for small businesses is a lack of brand awareness. Participating in small business Saturday can help with that, but if you’re going to get your brand in front of new people, make sure it’s making the right first impression. If your materials are old and outdated, consider a brand refresh. If you don’t have the resources to regularly update their marketing materials or work on their online presence, consider working with a branding and marketing agencies to assist in the development of new branding materials for all of your printed materials, signage and digital assets. They can also help you send out promotions ahead of Small Business Saturday to increase reach. These experts are also able to develop strategies for how you can change your messaging to target your desired client base, and how you can adapt this message across your channels, expanding your potential audience reach.
Capture Client Information
It’s possible that participating in SBS will attract some first-timers into your location or onto your website. Set up a promotion to gather customer information for future communications. Maybe it’s 15% off purchase now, 50% your next purchase or they have to sign up for your email list on the spot to get a promotion. Tweak the promotion to make sense for your business, but the key is to collect that customer information. By collecting customer information, you have the opportunity to reap the benefits of SBS long into the future by setting yourself up for future marketing opportunities.
Invest in the Right Equipment
Any business looking to stay competitive needs to invest in supplies and equipment that will allow them to properly present their materials. Upgrading to newer printers and copiers ensures that you’ll be able to produce materials like flyers, coupon books and mail advertisements in house as you need them. Cut down on time and money wasted outsourcing your advertising production and spend more time reaching out to your customers.
Make WiFi Available
Making WiFi available to customers can offer benefits to you and them. If you are going to encourage users to sign up for promotions in store, make sure you have a public WiFi network set up for customers to make this easy for them to load on their smartphones. Research has also found that customers stay in stores longer and oftentimes will spend more when WiFi is available. Plus, it could offer you another way to capture customer information.
Prepare Your IT Infrastructure
If you don’t have a server that can handle a large number of users shopping on your site, you could end up facing serious downtime that’ll block you from much of the Small Business Saturday traffic. Engage with your IT professionals or a managed service provider who can monitor your network and address any issues in real-time. Add more layers of coverage with cloud services to back up data in case of a crash and cybersecurity measures to keep processes compliant and protect your infrastructure. They can also help you set up a guest WiFi network so customers don’t have access to your company’s private network.
Utilize Software Tools
Companies with ecommerce platforms need software to support their programs to ensure that the customer experience runs smoothly. Utilize analytics to draw on historical trends from prior years and better prepare for staffing, inventory and transaction volumes. Evaluate data from your order and inventory systems and any ecommerce data for competitive analysis, user experiences and business processes. Analytics can empower a team to make better business decisions from product choices, workplace solutions to targeted messaging online and offline.
Be Mobile Friendly
More customers are shopping using mobile devices, which means small businesses need to ensure that the customer experience works smoothly on mobile. Consider platforms that make things like data capture, buying and contacting customer service readily available on phones and tablets, and take some time to look over how your site functions on these devices.
Small Business Saturday has proven be a can’t-miss opportunity for small to midsize businesses looking to expand their clientele, but in order to be successful, you need to support your staff and business with good hardware, software and materials. Apply one or two steps at a time, and you’ll be ready to welcome brand new business in no time!