Small Business Saturday is November 25th 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 Retail Dive, holiday sales for 2023 are expected to increase between 3.5% and 4.6% this year compared to last year’s holiday season. Small businesses should take advantage of Small Business Saturday to build upon loyalty and get customers to come back for a repeat purchase, even after the holiday season.

What is Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday was founded in 2010 by American Express to encourage shoppers to shop small. Always following the Saturday after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday’s goal is to bring holiday shopping to small businesses, and has since grown to become a major retail event. In the U.S. alone, shoppers spent an estimated over $17.9 billion on Small Business Saturday in 2022

According to Retail Dive, “ecommerce sales are anticipated to rise between 10.3% and 12.8% year over year, which could push online holiday sales to between $278 billion and $284 billion.”

How to attract loyal customers 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. 

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.

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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.

Ecommerce brands like Oatopia has seen massive growth after launching their program for less than a year. After launching its program within 7 months, Oatopia has already achieved success with a 400% ROI on its loyalty program. Smile has driven over 12% of all revenue for Oatopia since launching Oat of This World Perks.

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Omnichannel = more options to make a purchase

Every small business can build loyalty on Small Business Saturday by creating an omnichannel strategy that incorporates omnichannel commerce and omnichannel marketing. 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 now. 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. 

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Provide more shipping options

How a product is received is just as important as the buying experience. One way your small business can attract and 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.”

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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.
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Something we’ve especially noticed this year is that small businesses are taking the classic concept of the Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Small Business Saturday sales and promos and turning them into something that better speaks to their brand. One great example of this is ecommerce pet brand, Lucy & Co, which put on an entire festival. This was creative and got its customers to engage with the brand.  Lucy & Co releasing a schedule lineup like a festival, and got its  customers excited, and gives them a chance to plan. 

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. 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 17, 2022 and was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on November 7, 2023.

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