Preparing for Small Business Saturday Shoppers

small business, local business, black friday, shopping, holiday, Small Business Saturday, Amex
‘Tis the season…to shop local!

Whether you’re excited about it or begrudgingly accepting it, the holiday season is in full swing. Thanksgiving is next week and the bell is about to ring for full-on holiday shopping. Hopefully, Black Friday will bring you some business during the big-box store madness, but what I personally get really excited about is Small Business Saturday. It’s the small and local business-focused shopping day between Black Friday and Cyber Monday where your business gets a chance to shine and show customers why it still pays to shop local. The question is, are you prepared for it?

You want to get the word out, you want to make sure people are excited about taking time to support their local economy and find the unique products and services you provide, but where do you begin? If you haven’t previously started hyping this up, you’re at a disadvantage already, but it’s not hopeless.

  1. The first thing you need to do is start creating excitement and get the word out. Small Business Saturday has only been around for a few years, so some of your customers may simply not know that it exists. Mention it to your customers in the store, put some messages out on your social sites and get people talking. ‘Like’ the Small Business Saturday Facebook page (link at the end of this post) and start mentioning it on Facebook (tag the page so people can check it out, too). Also, just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you can’t take a page out of the big guys’ books. Start offering ‘sneak peaks’ this week of specials you’ll be having, or plans you’re anticipating to make the day fun and different than any other shopping day. Make sure you mention any adjusted hours so people know they can hit your store earlier or later than usual.
  2. Feel out your customers. What are they most excited about this shopping season? What items are on their wish list that they should buy from you? What do they hate about holiday shopping that you can potentially make easier on them? These are the kinds of things you should be asking to get a temperature of your customers’ feelings at this hectic time of year, and try to provide the more personalized service and experience that makes shopping local so great.
  3. Not a small retail business? That doesn’t mean you have to be left out. Cater your specials to weary holiday shoppers! If you’re a restaurant, have a Small Business Saturday shopper menu with items at a discounted price. A coffee shop: Provide a discounted cup of coffee or free flavor shot to fuel up those people who are shopping locally. Spa or salon? Offer specials to local shoppers to unwind after a busy and stressful shopping day. The possibilities are endless. Just be sure to remind them that participating in “local” is what got the them their special treatment. It’s about community here, folks.

Now, the review responder in me must add this last point. This is your opportunity to shine and remind people that you exist right down the street from them. Make sure you’re properly staffed, everyone has a smile and is excited to be part of the experience. Remember that many of these customers may have already dealt with ludicrous and potentially dangerous crowds elsewhere and may be on edge. You don’t want all of your hard work to unravel in the form of a slew of unhappy customer reviews.

For more information and tips, here are a couple more resources:

  • Small Business Saturday Facebook page
  • Small Business Trends article on preparing for Small Business Saturday
  • Forbes article with some tips and ideas
  • If you find the holiday season too overwhelming to handle your social media presence, the company I work for, Main Street Hub, can alleviate the stress of handling and monitoring your online presence. Check us out!

What kind of things are you planning to make this year the best for your small business? If you’re not a business owner, do you plan to participate in all three “shopping holidays”? (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday) What are some crazy or unique specials, gimmicks or tactics that you’ve already seen?

Let me know below with your comments.

Thanks for reading. Now go get your social on!

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Found Tweet Friday


Found Tweet Friday!

September 28, 2012 (It’s. Drink. Beer. Day! You have a holiday’s permission to have a great weekend.)

I spend a good part of my day using Twitter to find potential customers for my clients. I use the Twitter search function and locate people talking about relevant things that could translate to needs my clients’ products or services could fulfill. During this digging through the nonsense, the marketing messages, the slang and abbreviated hashtags, I find some pretty ridiculous tweets. Many that make my jaw drop. It never ceases to amaze me how many people forget that their tweets are completely public while they treat their Twitter conversations as if they were private. Some of those are simply too offensive or gross (not to mention misogynistic and lewd) for me to bother posting, but below are a collection of this week’s gems that I just had to share. My occasional commentary will be the parenthetical portions. Enjoy!

****Warning: Some content may be inappropriate for young or easily offended readers****

Found tweets:

  • Dear macho man going for a run in the rain, when you come to the front desk, turn off your iPod. I hear your TSwift plain as day. (busted dude…)
  • I’m REALLY high, & my mom came back from the dentist & her mouth was numb so she talked sloppy. My laugh x10 DEAR LORD. Cx
  • The one day I come home for lunch..and the dog throws up, and then eats it back up. I don’t want to live here anymore. #timetomoveout (I don’t think that’s an overreaction at all…)
  • They designed the iPhone 5 to fit perfectly in your pocket. Right where your money used to be. (Oooh burrrrn.)
  • bummed to realize my ipod is dead as i arrive at the gym. BUT universe threw me a bone: burly man doing 30 mins of dead lifts. in HOT PANTS. (Hooray for small victories?)
  • Please go see #Lawless so they continue to make movies like it. Also, take birth control or you will be pregnant w/ Tom Hardy’s babies after (Maybe they should sell protection at the door)
  • A hairy window broke a silly pineapple with a blue fridge and everyday a grape licks a friendly cow. (You figure it out…)
  • She had wrinkles in her pleated skirt.. that’s IRONic (wah wah waaaaaah)
  • Mom Trying to have the straight talk with me in the car ride… To the Mall. TO GO SHOPPING (Kind of seems to defeat the purpose, either way)
  • @xxxxxxxx: “I’m going to a wedding Saturday. Do I need a haircut?” @xxxxxxxxx: “Did you just ask if you needed a handpuppet? Yes!” (Who doesn’t need a handpuppet at a wedding? Obviously.)
  • Headed to an AYCE Brazilian steakhouse tonight. Couldn’t be more excited. Bring on the #brotein! (Please, no one brand the term Brotein. Please.)

There you are folks! Obviously, some weeks will be less interesting than others, but I hope you enjoy it. Also, if you ever see any great tweets worth pointing out, send them to me at robzaleski1@gmail.com and they might make the list!

Now go get your social on!

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