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How to Have a Successful Shop Local Saturday

November 26, 2019 | Published by Faire

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Stimulating the local economy is part of your passion and grand plan, so you already know how important it is to support small businesses. Your challenge, as a retailer, is to convince customers to spend their hard-earned money with you. In addition to helping artisans build their brands, shopping local keeps more money in the community, promotes growth and overall benefits towns and cities. In an effort to raise awareness for owners like you, Shop Local Saturday was launched in 2010 by American Express. The initiative challenges consumers to steer clear of major big box stores like Amazon and WalMart, and instead, check off their holiday list with companies down the block, or with digital retailers who showcase one-of-a-kind creations from talented crafters around the country.

With Shop Local Saturday coming up this weekend, we’ve collected some verified tips for success: 

Share the hype with your customers.

If you don’t tell them, they can’t come! In a time when business is increasingly more digital, it’s important to communicate your Shop Local Saturday sales and opportunities across all mediums. This includes, but is not limited to, your website, email newsletter, and social media channels. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, make sure to hang signs and verbage so customers will catch a glimpse when they’re browsing in your store. Decorate your shop, create a countdown, and blast all of your communication channels this week. You’re attempting to build hype, which gets the attention of an easily-distracted generation of consumers.

Consider offering a promotion.

Most small businesses will provide an incentive to lure in shoppers. This usually takes the form of a deal, a sale, a promotion or a freebie—consider taking a moment to figure out what works for your company. Maybe for some products that have a large profit margin, you can offer a percentage off. Or, if there’s a vendor that you really enjoy working with, brainstorm ideas together on how both of you can bring in more sales through a giveaway or buy-one-get-one-free special. Whatever you choose, make sure to advertise it when you’re sharing information about your Shop Local Saturday plans with current and potential customers. 

Make it fun—online or in-store.

For busy families and overworked professionals, Saturdays are sacred. They’re often the only time households and individuals have to connect with their loved ones, take a pause—and you know, run the errands they didn’t get to during the week. So to convince these folks to visit your store or site on their most precious day? You need to do some convincing—and make it a fun experience for all. If you’re hosting an event in store, consider offering free drinks or bites to eat. You should also play holiday tunes and invest in more staff to be around to answer questions and help customers. If you’re geared toward kiddos, consider hiring a local face painter to keep children occupied while their parents shop.

If you’re an online-only destination, remain active on social media throughout the day and have customer service reps on hand to answer questions that pop up during the checkout process. The more engaged you are with your community—in-person or virtually—the more likely they are to shop with you.

Team up with your clients and neighbors.

There’s strength in numbers and when pint-sized businesses team up together, they make a big splash. As you think about your events for Shop Local Saturday, think of other local companies around you that would be interested in partnering together. Maybe it’s a pub the next street over where they can bring a receipt from your store and get a free seasonal beer. Or, a hair salon that will offer a discount to anyone who buys beauty goods from your store. The point is to drum up sales throughout your town by working together. 

For online retailers, encourage your vendors to spread the word about your Shop Local Saturday deals. This not only helps them to sell more of their products but the more chatter you create, the more your traffic will increase. And you know what that means: eyeballs on your page and making purchases!

Get personal and strategic on social.

Why did you open your shop? What inspired you support artists and creators? Everyone is motivated by different beliefs but chances are high you have a story to tell. So tell it! Especially during the holiday season when most people feel that pull of nostalgia, take the center stage and get personal on your social media channels. Either via Facebook or Instagram live, or even posting a video if you don’t want to be on the spot, explain why you are where you are today. Share why you personally believe it’s so important to support local businesses. When you connect with your customers on a personal level, you become more relatable and thus, they are inspired to support your cause.

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