Small Business Saturday is just around the corner, and here at Valpak we couldn’t be more excited. Recently, Michael Vivio covered ways small businesses can compete with larger retailers during the holidays and throughout the year. Celebrating small, local businesses is great for the community and consumers can find a multitude of benefits from participating in this shopping event.
Small Business Saturday for Consumers
To understand how Small Business Saturday works, let’s start with its older brother, Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving is consistently a boon for nationwide retailers and has turned into quite the retail phenomenon. Marking the start of the holiday shopping season (which can account for up to 40% of a retailer’s revenue each year), Black Friday is so named because bookkeepers traditionally use black ink to denote profits (whereas red denotes losses). Because consumer spending accounts for roughly 70% of economic growth in the U.S., shopping days like Black Friday have typically resulted in a decent boost to the nation’s economy.
Small Business Saturday localizes this effect. When consumers shop locally, their dollars stay in the community rather than moving into the hands of big corporations. For every $100 consumers spend at a locally owned business, $45 stays in the local economy on average. On the other hand, only $13 on average goes back when they shop at a corporate store or national chain. Consumers have begun to notice this phenomenon, and for many, shopping locally is a matter of pragmatism as much as ethics.
When it comes to Black Friday, many of the larger companies have the power of the advertising dollar with huge budgets and large promotional campaigns. It’s really come down to a price game and who can market the biggest and the best. This is leaving small businesses in the dust, unable to compete.
However, Small Business Saturday isn’t all about price or under valuing your services or goods. It’s about the community and supporting your neighbors, plus maybe finding a great deal, too! Participating in Small Business Saturday makes us feel good. Like our dollars are being well spent and that we’re being socially conscious.
Another reason people like to shop locally? It’s cool! Local businesses are all the rage these days, especially among Millennials, and for good reason. Not burdened by the demands of mass production, mass appeal and global logistics, local businesses are capable of offering their customers exactly what they want. Whether that be an artisanally made handbag to rival the most high-end brands, or just a really delicious, locally sourced slice of pie. And, as part of the community, they know their customers better than anyone else! This is felt in the small business community, and sought after by many consumers.
Be it hometown pride or boutique chic, the unique shopping experience local businesses offer is a big plus for consumers. And it isn’t just in theory that they care about these things either, they’re voting with their wallets. Last year’s Small Business Saturday brought $14.3 billion in revenue to independent business owners, nearly 3x the expected amount.
How to Take Advantage of Small Business Saturday:
Is your small business prepared for this year’s Small Business Saturday? Here are three things you can do to start planning your promotion, and get involved in the local economy.
1. Create Marketing that Educates
Remind your customers that shopping local benefits the community much more than shopping online or in a big box store does. Not only is it better for the local economy, it’s a great opportunity to build community. Shopping small and local can strengthen the social bonds of a neighborhood, making it a nicer, friendlier place for all.
2. Find the Best Way to Market Your Business
What is it that your brand offers that the big guys can’t? Do you sell unique, handmade items? Do you employ friendly, knowledgeable sales staff who are committed to actually helping customers, rather than just making a quick sale? Use the things that set you apart to your advantage.
3. Design Marketing for Your Business
You know your customers better than anyone else. What mediums are the best ways to reach out to them? Look at your historical marketing data to develop a marketing strategy that will really get the word out about your Small Business Saturday promotion. How can you use your precious advertising dollars to reach the most households that fit your business clientele?
Operating a small business can be difficult, but the recent outpouring of consumer support for local shops proves that it’s on the rise. The truth of the matter is that Mom & Pop shops aren’t going anywhere, because they can offer things that the big stores can’t.