Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor, provides some insight in his latest blog of how retailers can prepare for Small Business Saturday coming up on November 27 this month. According to Phibbs, there is a groundswell of support now for smaller businesses, especially given the hardships they’ve had to endure during the pandemic just to stay open and operating. The holidays, and Small Business Saturday in particular, are when retailers can be the most connected with their local communities. Here are some tips to best prepare for this special day:
- Give more than a discount
Retailers need to connect with their customers in authentic, meaningful ways, and giving a discount can be easily and quickly forgotten. Retailers should consider partnering with a local charity and connecting with other business owners on their block to offer their customers a unique and creative shopping experience. The main focus should be on building community and repairing trust. Shoppers want to put a face to a brand. Provide them with a warm, inviting, and memorable experience.
- What not to do with new shoppers?
Retailers shouldn’t share negative stories of how they can’t find workers or what is going wrong with their business. Instead, the messaging should focus on how it’s great to be back in business supporting the community. Say it’s going to be a big holiday season. Offer hope and encouragement to shoppers.
- What kind of food to serve on Small Business Saturday?
To make it fun and to keep customers in their stores longer, retailers should consider serving food and beverages during their event. Make it something visitors find remarkable when they leave. For example, if serving hot chocolate, consider adding sprinkles with your brand color or appetizers that compliment your products in some way. The slogan ‘Shop Small’ is the anecdote to Black Friday. It’s about finding small interactions, not doorbusters.
- Associates need your help too
It will be important for retailers to train their associates to be at ease with customers. Teach them how to show a welcome and not just say it. Train associates to use empathy when a customer is struggling to describe what they want or need.
How you can show you are welcoming in a retail store
Phibbs suggests retailers create a social media reel to entice customers, showing how fun and inviting their store is. Train associates to engage with strangers by changing their greeting from “Hi, how are you?” to a simple “Good morning,” for example. Consider rolling out an actual red carpet that says ‘Welcome.’
- Cross-promote to build everyone’s business
To connect better with their communities’ retailers should consider cross-promotion. Offer a list of other local merchants or restaurants to customers and have those establishments refer your business as well. Nobody loses in this. Everybody in the community wins! If retailers can’t adequately prepare when consumer interest is high on Small Business Saturday, they will have a much tougher job trying to win those customers back in the cold months of January or February.