10 Ways To Rock Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday is on November 28th, 2015. Is Your Business Ready?
Small Business Saturday was launched by American Express as an initiative to encourage consumers to shop locally. Choice Merchant Solutions has come up with a list of tips to help your business flourish this holiday season:
1. Start Now: Major retailers don’t waste any time promoting holiday shopping. November 1st is usually when the holiday rush starts for the big box stores. American Express provides a free resource and free advertising solutions at www.shopsmall.com. To further support Small Business Saturday, download the Shop Small logo and display it on your website. Using this as signage to hang in your front window is also suggested.
2. Prepare your website: As of last year, online shopping has reached an all time high. Small businesses with aesthetically pleasing and fully functional websites have a distinct advantage. The speed of your website, the fact that it processes transactions and that it is mobile friendly also make a large difference. Make sure that inventory has been updated and promotions are displayed prominently as well.
3. Make customer service a priority: According to PWC’s study of 2014’s holiday trends, shoppers care about not only the gifts they purchase, but also the experience. Small businesses have an advantage because they can connect with their customers on a more personal level. Do your best to differentiate both your online shopping experience and your in-store shopping experience for each customer.
4. Make sure your website is mobile friendly: According to a recent Google blog post, almost 75% of people say they would be more inclined to return to a site if it were mobile friendly. You can check and see if your site is mobile friendly by performing a test here: Google Mobile Friendly Tool.
5. Don’t ignore social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are a hotbed of holiday gift ideas. These can be your greatest asset if you are willing to utilize them. The Small Business Saturday page on Facebook has upwards of 3 million fans, making it a wonderful resource.
6. Beef up your security: With every swipe of their credit card, your customers need to know that their information is safe when purchasing from your business. Take the time to read about and implement the necessary safeguards to keep their credit card numbers and personal information safe. There are a few best practices that can be easily searched: compliance with PCI standards, encryption and properly trained store employees. Also, do not store credit card information!
7. Go bold: Your customers will most likely be spammed with hundreds if not thousands of marketing pieces throughout the holiday season. To avoid being swept out to sea with the others, be deliberate and very specific with your in store traditional marketing, website, and social media posts. Try giving great gift suggestions instead of using cold statements like “Come by for great savings!”
8. Go head to head with big box stores: Black Friday and Cyber Monday may seem like they are for the bigger stores, but you can still get your piece of the pie. Because you are a local business, you can reach out to your customers on a more personal level. Again, make sure that your website, social media accounts and in store marketing are ready. Just because you’re not a big box store, doesn’t mean you can’t compete with them.
9. Advertise online: Not sure how to advertise online? You can start small by creating an Adwords account, then creating an ad and a budget. A great strategy is to use keywords that match the deals you are running for these larger shopping days. You can also consider geographic targeting as well. Facebook and Twitter offer these options and that will help attract more customers in your local area.
10. Don’t be afraid to communicate: Customers are eager to see promotions, discounts, and gift suggestions from their favorite stores. Make sure that you are reaching out to your repeat customer base. You can segment your customer list and offer different suggestions or pricing to your most valued shoppers. For example, you can entice those who enjoy coming into your store with messages regarding in store activities and deals for Black Friday. The same can be done with your online shoppers. Cyber Monday messages are key for those who enjoy the experience of shopping from their homes or offices.
As always, the team at Choice Merchant Solutions wishes you happy selling! Want to become one of our valued merchant processing customers? Click here!