Small Business Saturday is on November 28th, a day for us all to show our love for a small business near us. In its sixth year, the awareness campaign will hopefully drive more business your way, but is your business ready to meet any extra demand? Ensuring there’s capacity and resource for your online properties including your website, social media channels and order processing systems is essential if you’re going to enjoy the benefits of a surge in consumer demand to buy from small businesses instead of the big brands. Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle from Forbes points out, Small Business Saturday saw more than $14 billion spent with independent retailers in 2014.
“A report from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express – the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey – revealed that 88 million consumers “shopped small” on the day, up 14.9 percent from just a year ago. According to the survey, more than two-thirds of the U.S. population were aware of Small Business Saturday (67%). Additionally, of the U.S. consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday, a reported $14.3 billion was spent with independent retailers and restaurants on the day – an increase of 2.1 percent from $14 billion in 2013.”
Making the most of the day isn’t down to luck. Preparation and coordination are key. You can have a stunning website that’s fast to browse and mobile-friendly, but if your social media channels aren’t aligned with your website content and promoting your offers, you could miss out on an opportunity to raise awareness, and drive extra visits and sales from those channels. Similarly, if your IT systems enabling you to process customer orders and dispatch them on time aren’t robust enough to handle a sudden increase in visits and sales, those orders might get delayed or go unfulfilled, damaging your reputation.
Rhonda Abrams at USA Today reports:
- Sales more than doubled on Small Business Saturday 2014 compared to an average Saturday.
- 1 out of every 4 Americans – 88 million consumers – shopped at small businesses on Small Business Saturday 2014.
The figures from previous years should make you realize how much of a difference this day can make to your bottom line. There are three in four Americans who didn’t shop small, making the opportunity large. Getting more of them on board could be the key to your business growth.
With that in mind, here are three tips to make sure your website, social media and IT systems are ready to make the most of Small Business Saturday:
1. Have a dedicated web page
Have a web page dedicated to Small Business Saturday and keep it live all year round. It’ll also be quicker and easier to manage in the future: with a basic layout remaining the same each year but the copy and imagery changing. Combining it with offers for Black Friday and Cyber Monday too may capitalize on interest in those days. For people who still aren’t aware of Small Business Saturday but know about Black Friday, this is a good way of cross-selling and introducing them to your local small business brand. If consumers start searching for details about Small Business Saturday in September and October then having your page permanently live means people can find you whenever they start looking.
2. Share your business on social
84% of internet users between the age of 35-44 are on at least one Facebook service, meaning Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram or WhatsApp. That figure rises to 90% for 16-24 year-olds. This is where your potential customers are likely to be spending a lot of their social media time. Make sure you’ve set up a Facebook business page so your customers have a communal way to keep in touch.
3. Make sure things are safe and secure
Every business owner is concerned about their website or IT system being hacked, especially when special events that drive more orders take place. 71% of cyber-attacks are targeted against businesses with fewer than 100 employees, proving small businesses are as much of a target as enterprises so we need to stay focused and alert to the potential issues. The average cost to a small business when a cybercriminal attacks them is $36,000, which comes directly from your bottom line.
There’s a wide range of free resources for small businesses all over the web to help you understand how healthy and secure your website and IT systems are. For example, AVG’s free Small Business IT Security Health Check is a good place to start if you’re not an expert or time is in short supply. It’s quick and gives clear answers about how you can improve IT security.
At the end of the day
Preparing your website, social media channels and order processing system for the potential Small Business Saturday bonanza will ensure that you and your business will benefit from the opportunity these special events present.
Having lived and worked for SMEs and multi-national corporations in the UK, Saudi Arabia, Finland and the Czech Republic, Lee's experience and insight allow him to deliver a broad and deep business perspective.