Small Business Saturday Is Coming – Is Your Business Ready?

Small Business Saturday is less than a week away. With only a few days to spare, is your business ready? And are you targeting the right customers? Columbus-based AudienceSCAN recently performed a survey over 14,000 people nationwide to gain insights into their Small Business Saturday shopping habits.

Holiday shopping used to culminate with Black Friday following Thanksgiving, but a host of other days have joined the ranks. Falling between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday was created in 2010 by American Express to encourage shoppers to check out small business versus the big-box retailers that dominate Black Friday.

While still a relatively new concept, the survey found that over a quarter of adults (28.7 percent) frequented locally owned businesses on the designated day. Of these shoppers, high-income adults, those making $100,00 plus, are nearly 40 percent more likely to participate. However, adults making $50,000 to $100,00 make up the largest percentage of Small Business Saturday shoppers at 40.7 percent.

AudienceSCAN CEO & President C. Lee Smith found the percentages of high-income shoppers surprising, but when taking a step back, the trend actually made sense.

“They don’t have to go out and buy things that are the cheapest,” Smith says. This audience segment has an appreciation of higher-end items and the expertise a small business provides.

As is evident by their participation, Small Business Saturday shoppers overwhelmingly support the concept. Seventy-two percent of shoppers prefer to buy from a local business when price and product are the same, and 85.6 percent don’t mind paying more for higher quality.

So what does this mean for small businesses? AudienceSCAN’s information also provides tips on how businesses can take advantage of this information.

Even though it’s only a few days away, Smith has one major piece of advice for businesses that it’s not too late to implement.

“The best thing I can recommend for any small business for getting their message out is start with their own website as a shopper would,” he says. No matter what form of marketing a business uses – social media, traditional advertising, taking advantage of American Express’s supplied resources – everything is going to link back to a business’s website.

“Try to think of it through the eyes of a higher-income shopper,” Smith recommends. Use a detailed eye to make sure everything looks sharp, down to margins, alignment and graphics.

Another tactic to increase Small Business Saturday sales is to support a local cause or charity. The survey found that all other things equal, 83 percent of shoppers will shop at a different store to support an important cause or charity.

Supporting a charity is one of three things Smith says a small business should do to bring in shoppers. Businesses should also promote their local products and what makes them different, while also taking responsibility for stressing the importance of shopping local.

“Promote what makes your small business special,” he says. “That’s the number one thing and identify that message and get that message out there though marketing.”

A good outlet for marketing is easily in a small business’s reach. Fifty-four percent of Small Business Saturday shoppers participate on social media to access exclusive deals. He also says to take advantage of the national buzz surrounding the event. It’s there – why not utilize it?

While holiday shopping days are largely retail-driven, Smith reminds shoppers to think outside the box when it comes to shopping local. Even if they aren’t providing a local product, plenty of small businesses like spas, restaurants and travel agents provide a local service.

Click here for more information and to read the full report of findings.