You may have Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas marked in your calendar, but one sales opportunity that shouldn’t be missed is November 28th – AKA Small Business Saturday. 

The annual event promotes and celebrates shopping with small businesses, but it’s no small scale event in terms of sales. In 2019, the 10th Small Business Saturday hit a new sales record, with an estimated $19.6 billion spent in the USA. Small Business Saturday is a special day because it allows small brands the time to shine, unlike Black Friday and Cyber Monday where there’s competition with bigger brands. With the COVID-19 pandemic having such a big impact on small businesses this year, shoppers are bound to rally behind this cause even more. 

Want to know how to stand out from the crowd? Here’s five tips on how to have a great Small Business Saturday. 

1. Promote #shoppingsmall by taking customers inside the story of your small business.
2. Level up your unboxing experience by customizing your packaging.
3. Partner with other like-minded businesses for some cross-promotion.
4. Host a giveaway to get shoppers across the line.
5. Donate a portion of your profits to a worthy cause.

1. Promote #shoppingsmall by taking customers inside the story of your small business.

shopkeep noissue packaging small business saturday

Small Business Saturday is a day where shoppers are focused on smaller owner operators, unlike other sales events like Singles Day and Black Friday Cyber Monday, where big brands like Walmart and Amazon dominate. Showing your friendly face and representing your business is a huge advantage to have over this sales period, so take advantage of it. Build brand awareness and loyalty with customers by taking them behind the scenes of your small business, or sharing your founder’s story in detail. 

2. Level up your unboxing experience by customizing your packaging.

shopkeep noissue small business saturday packaging

Disruptions to bricks-and-mortar shopping from the Covid-19 pandemic mean that ecommerce will play a huge role in Small Business Saturday this year. Adobe’s Digital Economy Index (DEI) found that ecommerce sales during the peak months of the pandemic (April to May) in America were 7% higher than the 2019 holiday season, which is traditionally the biggest sales period of the year, hitting more than $153 billion. And according to a survey by Shopify, only 3 percent of shoppers plan to shop in-store only ahead of sales events such as Black Friday Cyber Monday, versus 97 percent planning to shop online or a combination of online and in-store.With an increased focus on ecommerce, if there was ever a year to step up your packaging experience for Small Business Saturday, 2020 would be it. 

Packaging providers such as noissue offer fully customizable options with low Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs) which means it’s more affordable and accessible than ever to create a beautiful unboxing experience for your customers, no matter the size of your business. If the customer is purchasing something as a gift for someone else, custom packaging means they’ve received free wrapping – which is one less thing for them to worry about.

3. Partner with other like-minded businesses for some cross-promotion.

Shoppers love to see businesses that share the love instead of being hyper-competitive. Rather than worrying about your competition, reach out to other small businesses that compliment your brand and see if you can come together to collaborate and share  a special promotion on your channels, or even create a special product bundle for this event. 

One way to find businesses is by looking at other businesses in your own product category. If you’re a food business, you could find other food or beverage businesses with a similar mission or shared customer demographic to create an exciting limited edition product bundle with. 

You could also choose to partner with local businesses in your area as a way of promoting shopping small and local. A good way to find these businesses is by browsing businesses in your city through Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn’s location search tools and seeing who would align well with your own brand. Championing other businesses in your community shows you’re living by the #shopsmall mentality and helping everyone win. 

4. Host a giveaway to get shoppers across the line.

One way to incentivize people to shop with you and build excitement around Small Business Saturday is by hosting a giveaway. This can be done in a variety of ways, from a contest where people post photos of their purchases from your store with a specific hashtag for a chance to win a prize, or promoting the fact you’re going to draw a prize winner from all of the orders of people who’ve shopped with you over this period. 

Given that Small Business Saturday is just around the corner, we’d recommend putting a shorter deadline in place (such as one or two weeks out) for the giveaway to get potential shoppers across the line in the lead-up to the day. This way, you’ll have loyal shoppers spending with you on the day alongside new shoppers who’ve been motivated to purchase – win, win! Whatever giveaway you decide on, just remember that anything that increases engagement with your customers and helps lead to greater brand exposure is a winner.

This is a busy sales period for businesses, which also presents an opportunity to give back. After all, people love when brands help them make a positive contribution to the world. If you want to differentiate your company this Small Business Saturday, why not donate a percentage of sales to an environmental or social cause that aligns with your brand? This way, customers will know shopping with you not only helps a small business – it helps an issue they care about, too. If you need some inspiration, think about championing a sustainable cause. A study by Global Web Index found that environmental concerns impact 50 percent of consumers’ online purchasing decisions.

We hope these tips have got you thinking about how to best approach Small Business Saturday!

One last bonus tip: If you need a helping hand with marketing materials, American Express’ Shop Small website has free resources to help you promote your business.  

Elly Strang headshot