Get ready to make the holiday shopping season merry and bright. Small Business Saturday is the time for local shops to shine.

It’s almost time for small business owners to celebrate. Small Business Saturday is Nov. 25, 2017 — the kickoff of the holiday shopping season for local retailers.

Falling between all the hype of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this special day to #ShopSmall is a pretty big deal. Last year, customers reported spending $15.4 billion at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday.

Make sure your small business is ready! Here are nine ways your store can prepare for the rush and kick off a successful holiday season by taking part in Small Business Saturday.

  1. Stock Up. Make sure your inventory is up-to-date and that your shelves are fully stocked, including a cushion for an increase over last year’s sales.
  2. Hire Seasonal Staff. You want to allow enough time for training before the rush. Get your team’s schedule in order and make sure employees are clear on holiday hours and expectations.
  3. Stock Unique Inventory. In addition to the seasonal items you usually stock, include a new, featured item just for the holidays. Make sure customers know that quantities are limited!
  4. Hold Special Events. Give customers an incentive to visit by making your store a holiday destination. Schedule a special open house, hire carolers or entertainers, and serve complimentary hot chocolate and cookies.
  5. Promote Discounts. Special deals are the coin of the realm during the holiday shopping season. Reward loyal customers with an exclusive coupon or percentage off just for them. You can promote it to enewsletter subscribers or social followers.
  6. Join Forces. Every business in your community depends on the support of local customers. Work with your chamber of commerce or neighborhood association to co-promote events, collaborate on marketing efforts, and make Small Business Saturday a success for everyone.
  7. Pay It Forward. Team up with a local charity to encourage holiday giving. You can accept donations at your shop, or show you care by matching contributions up to a certain amount.
  8. Spread the Word on Social. Use the official hashtag #ShopSmall to join the conversation with other local stores and customers who are participating in Small Business Saturday.
  9. Encourage Return Visits. After all the excitement of the holidays, January can feel pretty lonely for retailers. Encourage your customers to come back with a special bounceback reward. For example, if they spend $200 in November or December, they receive a $25 gift card to redeem in January. It’s a good reminder that you appreciate the support of local customers all year round.

Author: Brian Lindamood, Manta Content Director

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