In between two of the biggest shopping days of the year – Black Friday and Cyber Monday – is yet another designated shopping day, Small Business Saturday, which allows shoppers to support local businesses, entrepreneurs, and communities. This year, the shopping day which was launched by American Express in 2010 to encourage customers to shop local during the busiest time of year for retailers, fell on November 25, 2023.
In the U.S. there are 33.2 million small companies and they make up 99% of all businesses. In 2022, Small Business Saturday drove an estimated $17.9 billion based on the 2022 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey commissioned by American Express.
The importance of shopping local goes beyond supporting the little guys – 67% of every dollar spent in small businesses stays in the local communities. Smaller companies with fewer than 500 employees account for 44% of U.S. economic activity, are more active in their communities, and they create two-thirds of net new jobs.
“Small Business Saturday was created to help local businesses, so share the story of what makes your business unique and different from big chain stores,” says Tabatha Rowbatham, Co-Founder & COO of Twinning Pros Marketing, a creative marketing agency. She emphasizes the importance of planning an effective email marketing campaign to drive customers to your business. “Plan in advance and create an email campaign announcing upcoming sales. The week prior, send a reminder email. And then send out one final email the day of.”
Cut Through The Black Friday And Cyber Monday Noise
“There’s always so much noise during Black Friday to Cyber Monday with almost every brand offering steep discounts. There are a few things I do to stand out and serve my customers in addition to offering a discount. Starting on Small Business Saturday, we offer a personalized gift box for every purchase over $35. We participate in a holiday popup or team up with other businesses. This year, Mahisi is one of 50 New York based makers that are selling at Make Your Market, a popup holiday gift shop in New Rochelle. And we provide extra live chat support during promotion time. It’s important to make your customers feel supported virtually as much as they would in person,” shares Angelina Handayani, Founder of Mahisi, a brand that focuses on ethically-made hand-dyed dresses and handmade gifts.
Offer One-On-One Support
One of the many benefits of running a small business are the personal interactions that can be had with consumers. This type of conversation and dedicated customer service can build long-term customer loyalty.
“Our success as a small business is a direct result of this unwavering commitment to our customers. On Small Business Saturday, we’re taking our ethos a step further by highlighting our unique offering of free virtual one-on-one curl classes. By offering personalized guidance and support beyond the purchase, we’re not only building stronger relationships but also reinforcing our commitment to customer satisfaction. This strategy has paid off significantly, leading to growth in five-star reviews, now at over 3,000 reviews. It’s a testament to how staying true to our ethos can drive tangible results and foster a loyal customer base,” says Emily Kenison, Founder & Inventor of RobeCurls, the original heatless curling headband.
The company is also focusing on highlighting their customers this Small Business Saturday. “We’re putting this ethos into action by showing heartfelt appreciation to our customers. Our strategy revolves around sharing customer success stories and testimonials, focusing on the transformative impact the Curling Headband has had on their lives. By spotlighting these real-life experiences, we not only reinforce our commitment to customer satisfaction but also strengthen our ethos. This approach has resonated deeply with our community, fostering a sense of loyalty and trust that is invaluable for a small business like ours,” adds Kenison.
Small Business Saturday Attracts Younger Generations
Younger shoppers are drawn to Small Business Saturday with 72% of Millennials planning to shop on the day this year, 69% of Generation Z, 59% of Generation X, and 51% of Baby Boomers.
Younger generations put emphasis on what brands stand for and who they are, almost as much as what they sell. In data collected by ActiveCampaign in 2022, 60% of consumers indicated negative sentiment toward retail giants, jumping to 69% of Gen Z and 51% of Boomers. And 40% of Generation Z said they prioritize shopping at small businesses for holiday purchases and special occasions compared to 32% of millennials who said the same.