ECommerce Guide to Small Business Saturday

10th Annual Small Business Saturday is approaching fast. In 2019, Small Business Saturday falls on November 30th to encourage consumers to shop small and local.

Small Business Saturday originated in 2010 when American Express wanted to give small business owners a fighting chance during Black Friday and Cyber Monday blowout sales against larger retailers who can afford to spend a lot of money on marketing.

In 2011, the Senate voted  and Small Business Saturday officially become an event that is celebrated across the United States of America. 

Graph of small business Saturday shoppers per year
Courtesy of FitSmallBusiness.com

What's your target market?

If you’ve been in the e-commerce race for a while, you should have a decent idea about your target market by now. If you are  just starting out, I would recommend focusing on Millennials and Generation Z. Also, don’t forget to check out a post on How To Start Your Clothing Line Business. 

Both of these groups are very tech-savvy and have lived in technology-based environments for most of their lives. 

Generation Z are highly skilled individuals in all-things technology. After all, they all grew up with technology at their fingertips. Gen Z is using technology to enhance their personal lives. Some of Gen Zs are using their devices to make money such as creating sponsored content.

Let's talk stats

Small businesses contribute to the economy of the country in so many ways. They bring growth and innovation to communities across the U.S. 

They also stimulate economic growth by offering employment opportunities to people who may not be able to get a spot at larger corporations.

In retrospect, large corporations benefit from small business owners, to help complete various projects such as marketing, SEO, and other. 

Online sellers most certainly can benefit from Small Business Saturday too. Some shoppers prefer to touch products, others prefer the convenience of the click-and-ship trend. As Americans, continue to get busier  and more responsibilities pile up in our laps especially during the holidays, click and ship is the popular option that many U.S. customers opt for.

Check out the states below that you can market CustomCat products to:

Pet designs and accessories can be marketed to Michigan, Colorado, Utah, Minnesota, Nebraska, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. 

Home decor (Canvas, Posters, and Wall Flags) is popular in Arkansas and Mississippi. 

Clothing and accessories are a big hit in Louisiana.

The standout business type each state visited most on Small Business Saturday, compared to national average
Courtesy of Morning Consult

Plan marketing ahead

Start promoting early. Don’t end  your marketing on Black Friday. To meet the shopping demand, make sure to extend your holiday customer service hours during peak times. 

1. Provide exceptional customer service

The overall shopping experience is as important as the products your customers buy. Gone are the days when products were the only things that mattered. Nowadays, shoppers care about the full shopping experience as much as the actual product that they are buying.

Make sure to always have someone on call 24/7 to answer customers’ questions. All customers are highly motivated and VERY impatient people, don’t have them wait too long for an answer or they will go elsewhere. 

That goes for social media as well. If you have a social media presence you should treat it as a business asset. With that said, respond to comments, mentions, and messages promptly. Nothing should go unanswered. 

2. Hashtags that work

  • Small Business 
  • Small Biz 
  • Shop Local 
  • Online Business 
  • Small Business Owner
  • Small Business Saturday 
  • Small Business
  • Business Owner 
  • Small Business Owner 
  • Shop Small Saturday 
  • Female Business Owner 
  • Mums in Biz
  • Women Business 
  • Women in Business
  • Shop Small Biz 
  • ECommerce Business 
  • Shop Small Biz 
  • Shop Small Business
  • Small Business Love
  • Shop Small and Happy

3. Simplify your site navigation

There is a reason why many professionals say; “Quality over quantity.” Whether it is too many color options or variety of designs, sometimes more options can hurt your business. Customers are indecisive, too many color combinations and minor changes to designs can leave customers overwhelmed  and undecided whether they should or shouldn’t buy. 

Make it easy on the eyes and arrange your products based on: 

  • Add the ‘What’s New’ section to your site to target both new and returning customers. ‘What’s New’ can be used year-round on seasonal designs such as Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, and Thanksgiving. 
  • Do not make your categories too broad or use names/titles that are confusing. 
  • Add section where everyone can view recently viewed items. 
  • Make sure your search bar is visible and easy to use.  
  • Show all your benefits (why should customers do business with you) at the top of your page for everyone to see. 
  • Add sections: 
    • Weekly Deals
    • Popular
    • Must-Have Looks 
    • Best Sellers
    • New Arrivals 
    • Most Liked 
    • Trends 
    • Sale 
    • New Releases

You can also divide your navigation into categories: 

  • Color Code (Red, Blue, White) 
  • Season  (Summer Shop)
  • Certain Personality Trait (Adventurous, Fearless, Independent)
  • Themed Categories (Christmas Gifts, Gift Guides) 
  • Activities (Camping & Hiking, Hunting, Fishing, Fitness)
  • Gender (Men, Women, Kids)
  • Purpose of wear (Pants, Tops, Hats) 
  • Material ( Cotton, Linen) 
  • Brand (Adidas, Nike) 
  • Size (Plus Size, Petite) 
  • Occasions (Thanksgiving, Christmas, St, Patrick’s Day)
  • Shop by concept (DTG, Logo Embroidery, Sub)

4. Partner up with other small businesses

When it comes to Small Business Saturday, other small businesses are your friends. Only do so, if the businesses complement each other. If you are selling similar products this might harm you rather than help you. Choose your partners wisely. a

  • Cross-reference each other on social media 
  • Earn rewards that can be used to purchase products from the partnered store

5. Connect with a local charity

The main reason behind Small Business Saturday is to help spread local products among a community. Everyone who participates in SBS is keen supporter of local businesses. Why stop there. Consumers who shop Small Business Saturday like to see that their dollars go a long way. Connect with a local charity to let your customers know that their sales support the community in every way. 

  • Rescue dogs (if you are a store that focuses on pet designs) 
  • Empowering and employing women (store that primary focuses on women)
  • Feeding America (if your designs are mainly food-related)
  • Support children’s education in different countries (travel related designs)

6. Send text reminders

Personalized reminders go a long way. One of the ways to impress customers by sending personalized text message to remind them about special  Small Business Saturday discounts. 

EZ Texting – start engaging your most valued audience, only do so if you’ve got permission to send promotional items. 

People respond to texts more than they respond to emails, consider adding this feature to your marketing efforts. Most prefer to text because smartphones are always at our fingertips. 

7. Reply to all reviews promptly

In e-commerce reviews are everything. The success of your business is built on trust that comes from online reviews. Poor reviews do not necessarily mean a bad thing, most people understand that not everything will go smoothly at all times, however, replaying with empathy and a possible solution is a must. 

If something goes wrong on your part, make an effort to correct your mistake even if it means costing you money.

8. Get visible on Google & Yelp

Many shoppers begin their online search on general sites – Google, Yelp and more. Please be sure to add your web address, hours of operation and any other important information that  you may think will give you a competitive advantage. Don’t forget to add photos to increase the credibility of your business. Businesses with photos perform much better than those that don’t include photos. 

9. Photo Contest Ideas

Photo contests are user-friendly and provide a content that can be reused down the line. Create photo contest ideas based on your niche. If you sell pet related designs you may want to have contestants submit a photo of their pet in holiday costume or a pet that is dressed like an entrepreneur. 

Pet Photo Contest Flyer

Small Business Saturday is a mindset NOT just one day to capitalize on profits,  yes it can be very profitable but that’s not the only way you can make money as an entrepreneur. Put your best foot forward and start painting a picture of all the benefits your business has over larger stores that carry anything we’d ever want. 

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