Small Business Saturday is November 26th and holiday sales are in full swing across retail stores and ecommerce sites. Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be the main stars of the upcoming retail events, but Small Business Saturday is becoming just as popular. Small Business Saturday is an excellent opportunity for small businesses to kick off the holiday retail season while building small business loyalty among its customers.
Driving customer loyalty is essential for growth and stability in ecommerce. According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales for 2022 are expected to increase between 6% and 8% compared to 2021. Small businesses should take advantage of Small Business Saturday to build upon loyalty and get customers to come back again and again, even after the holiday season.
What is Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday was started in 2010 by American Express to encourage shoppers to shop at small businesses. Always following the Saturday after Black Friday, the goal is to bring holiday shopping to small businesses. In the U.S alone, shoppers spent over $20 billion on Small Business Saturday in 2021.
How to build loyalty on Small Business Saturday
- Implement a loyalty program.
- Omnichannel = more options to make a purchase.
- Provide shipping options.
- Implement a strong social media strategy.
Implement a loyalty program
Implementing a loyalty program is the perfect way for your small business to build a community surrounding your brand that you can engage with several times throughout the year. Long after Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday season has passed. Loyalty programs allow brands to offer rewards, discounts, or other incentives as a way to acquire, engage and most importantly retain customers. The sole purpose of a loyalty program is to turn one-time customers into repeat customers.
With a loyalty program, you can create a loyalty loop that gets customers in for a second purchase, by building up loyalty points to spend. There are a few different types of loyalty programs such as referral programs, points programs, and VIP programs with tiers customers can move through for greater rewards.
Another key benefit of implementing a loyalty program is the opportunity to gather first-party data. The first-party data can help map the customer journey, map the time between the first and second purchase, assist in collecting email addresses, and help you make strategic business decisions.
Omnichannel = more options to make a purchase
Be where your customers are.
Simply, make sure your message online matches what you are saying offline and ensure your customers can shop and checkout from any device, location, or platform.
The buying journey is different for everyone. It involves different devices and platforms. A customer can be viewing a product online through a desktop, mobile, or tablet, pick up what they are viewing on social media, or a mobile app—and eventually checkout through offline channels such as brick-and-mortar, pop-up shops, and various retail locations. It’s estimated that 73% of shoppers across markets made a purchase in-store after finding or discovering the item on social media.
Your small business should have a solid and effective omnichannel commerce strategy to align your company and product messaging, company goals, objectives, and a uniform design across each of your channels and platforms. Omnichannel is a perfect strategy any small business can implement. It doesn't mean you have to be absolutely everywhere, but where your customers are.
Provide more shipping options
How a product is received is just as important as the buying experience. One way your small business can build loyalty is by offering more ways a product can reach a customer's hand. This includes BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store), curbside pickup, offering local delivery, and free shipping options.
Free shipping is quickly becoming a top decision factor for customers completing a purchase. According to Shopify Plus, “8 percent of consumers expect free shipping when ordering a certain dollar amount of products, and 66% of consumers expect free shipping for all online orders. Offering free shipping has gone from a “nice to have” option to an essential.”
Implement a strong social media strategy
This strategy might seem obvious, but it’s one that can go a long way in making customers and visitors feel connected to a brand. A strong social media strategy can engage customers online before, during, and after Small Business Saturday. This is more than posting a photo or a video. A successful social media strategy will allow customers to:
- tag your business on social media platforms.
- get users to add your geolocation tags that their network sees.
- give product reviews.
- create user-generated content that in turn, your business can use.
Our Senior Community Manager, Siân notes small businesses should use events like Small Business Saturday to create their own branded sales event. "Something we’ve noticed this year is that small businesses are taking the classic concept of these sales events and promos, and turning them into something that better speaks to their brand and their customers. Lucy & Co put on an entire festival. This is not only super creative and fun, but releasing the schedule gets her customers excited and gives them a chance to plan."
Another trend small businesses can get into before, during and after Small Business Saturday is through Reels or TikTok. "If you’re into Reels or TikToks, try getting personal so that customers can really see the small business they’re supporting," Siân says. "We love how Cassandra of Lady Green talks folks through her candles and Mya of Kokum Scrunchies shared a recent milestone."
Small Businesses Saturday is an opportunity
Small Business Saturday is an opportunity that can kickstart your small business with holiday sales and customer loyalty. As a small business owner, you can create brand communities that will support and champion your brand beyond Small Business Saturday.