The changing of the seasons is marked not only by changes in weather, but changes in activities. Autumn brings brilliant leaf viewings, plenty of pumpkin to sniff, sip and carve, as well as the realities of retail. November is historically known as the month when many retailers aim to break even. Black Friday got its name from the ink in adding machines. (For Gen X’ers: adding machines proceeded calculators. For Millennials: calculators proceeded smart phones.) An adding machine would print negative numbers in red ink, and positive numbers in black ink. By the Friday after Thanksgiving, retailers hope to be “in the black” and no longer “in the red.”
A new retail trend began in 2010 started by American Express. It quickly gained momentum, and is now part of the regular holiday shopping trilogy: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. American Express estimates that in 2015 over 95 million Americans patronized small, locally-owned stores and restaurants on Small Business Saturday. Communities in Georgia and across the country participated by promoting their downtown retailers, holding special holiday events, and providing “the extras” such as gift wrapping.
Another phenomenon of Small Business Saturday is the social media buzz that it has increasingly generated each year. Last year American Express and the National Federation of Independent Businesses sponsored a survey of consumers which revealed that:
“In the month of November (2015) more than 241,000 posts combined were posted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using Small Business Saturday and Shop Small related hashtags, more than 100,000 of which were posted on November 28th alone. Posts included consumers showing their love for their favorite small businesses, business owners raising awareness for promotions and activities taking place on Small Business Saturday, as well as government officials and celebrities showing their support for the day and their favorite small businesses.”1
The University of Georgia SBDC is excited to support this day where Small Businesses, our clients, are in the national spotlight! To do our part, this month the UGA SBDC is posting daily tips to retailers and others participating in Small Business Saturday, so this day can be as successful as possible. A sample of tips from the UGA SBDC in Athens office is included below. Please share these tips, follow us on social media, and keep us posted on your Small Business Saturday successes by using the hashtag #UGAShopsSmall!
For more Small Business Saturday information from American Express and the U.S. Small Business Administration please visit:
Ten Tips for a Successful Small Business Saturday
From the University of Georgia SBDC in Athens: Laura Katz, Michael Myers, Bart Njoku-Obi and Stacy Johnson
- Staff appropriately or even “over staff” – you never get a second chance to make a great first impression.
- Expand your day – open early – stay late.
- Have something extraordinary at your business that day: holiday music or treats, special guests or demonstrations – make it a memorable day!
- Door Buster Specials – motivate shoppers to visit to your store.
- Cross Promote with other businesses in your shopping center, downtown or those nearby.
- Give a percentage of sales to charity for the day.
- Thank everyone for stopping in – even if they don’t buy anything.
- Display seasonably appropriate merchandise.
- Strongly promote the day and any of the items listed above that you decide to incorporate on your social media platforms.
- Ask patrons as they enter your store to check in on Four Square or Facebook!
(Source: Small Business Saturday Results: Shoppers Provide Encouraging Start to the Holiday Shopping Season, 2015)