With the ushering in of November comes increased buzz around holiday shopping and anticipation for some of the busiest shopping days of the year. The weekend after Thanksgiving has long been one of the most popular shopping periods, with customers around the world taking advantage of several discounted shopping holidays from Black Friday, taking place the Friday after Thanksgiving, to Small Business Saturday, taking place the following day in the U.S. This year, the National Retail Federation predicts that holiday sales during November and December will continue to rise, growing an estimated 8.5 to 10.5 percent since 2020.
In 2020, shoppers spent around $19 billion at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday alone, and as consumers continue to place increased importance on making purchases that have a positive impact, the popularity of the national shopping day is likely to continue.
To help our community best leverage these busy shopping days for success this holiday season, we’ve put together some tips on how you can best prepare for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and beyond.
Plan your promotions
When thinking about potential Black Friday or Small Business Saturday promotions, there are a few factors to consider. First, you’ll want to decide what type of promotion to offer. Common examples include buy-one-get-one-free deals, dollar-value discounts, percentage-based discounts, or free shipping. You can also offer promotions that help widen your audience by incentivizing current customers to refer a friend or share a social media post about your store in exchange for a discount.
To help you decide what’s best for your business, think about what you hope to achieve with your discounts. Are you hoping to grow your customer base? Are there particular products you want to highlight and sell more of? You’ll also want to consider your audience. What’s most valuable to your customers? What promotions have been successful in the past?
Next, decide how long you want your promotion to run. You can create a unique promotion that lasts for just one day or opt to offer savings for a full week to a month. As consumer behavior continues to shift amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s becoming more and more common for businesses to offer longer-running promotions rather than limiting deals to just one shopping weekend.
Prepare your website
Online shopping continues to grow in popularity, with e-commerce sales reaching $100 billion for the first time ever in November of 2020. With so many customers doing their shopping online, it’s important to make sure your website is up-to-date in time for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. This means making sure your product details and shipping information are accurate and ensuring that you display all information about promotions and holiday gifts prominently on your page. If you’ve curated holiday collections or gift guides this season, be sure to make them easy to find on your website.
Finally, make sure contact information including your brick-and-mortar location, business hours, social media handles, and a customer service contact is updated on your page.
Ready your brick-and-mortar space
If you have a brick-and-mortar retail space, you’ll want to be prepared for the potential of increased traffic during these busy shopping events. Make sure you have enough staff on hand to offer excellent customer service and consider extending your hours for a few days or weeks during the holiday shopping season.
In addition to promotions, it’s common for small businesses to offer additional in-store perks like free food and drinks or gift wrapping services to shoppers during Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and other sales events. You can also offer exclusive in-store-only discounts to entice shoppers to visit your store in person.
Finally, be sure to include dedicated signage in front of your store or in the window highlighting any promotions or incentives you’re offering.
Spread the word
Now is the time to make use of all your available marketing channels to let consumers know about any special deals you’re offering. Post consistently about any holiday promotions on your social media channels and send a dedicated email campaign to your subscribers to alert them of any ongoing deals.
In addition, this shopping period is also an opportunity to make some extra noise about your business in general. With a rising number of consumers turning to social media to discover new brands, posting more about your business in November and December is worthwhile regardless of the sales you may be running. Use your social media accounts to talk about your founding story and the inspiration behind your business, share what makes you unique, and get people excited about your products.
If you’re participating in Small Business Saturday, be sure to add yourself to the Shop Small Map to allow new customers to discover your business, and connect with other small businesses around the country by using the hashtag #SmallBusinessSaturday or #SBS on social media.
Build and strengthen customer relationships
Shopping holidays like Black Friday and Small Business Saturday are a great time to strengthen your relationship with your current customers and connect with new buyers. The best way to build new and positive customer relationships is by offering excellent customer service. You can do this by including special services like gift wrapping options during the holidays, or by ensuring you or a staff member is on hand to keep up with customer questions. Given the unique shipping disruptions accompanying this holiday season, providing accurate shipping information and consistent updates to your customers will be essential for great customer service.
In addition, make contact information easy for shoppers to find, and consider offering a frequently asked questions page on your website. To reward loyal customers and thank them for their continued business, you may also consider offering a coupon exclusive to your repeat customers.
Lastly, be sure to find a way to keep in touch with any new customers you may bring in this holiday season. You can do this by offering an email signup sheet at the checkout counter of your store or by including a pop-up signup form to collect new customers’ contact information on your website.
Get more tips for holiday success by reading our guide to preparing your business for the busy season, discover insider advice on navigating peak retail months, and check out our blog on 10 holiday wholesale trends.