Thanks to American Express launching Small Business Saturday in 2010, local, small businesses finally have a special day of their own between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
What started as a fun initiative has become a significant opportunity for small businesses across the country, especially in the retail and food services space, to gain exposure and increase sales. According to RetailMeNot’s 2017 Holiday Retail Trends and Guide, the day weekend following Thanksgiving is still one of the busiest shopping periods of the year.
Last year, Small Business Saturday saw record numbers with close to 112 million consumers reporting shopping at small businesses, a 13 percent increase from 2015.
The shopping holiday provides small businesses with a great opportunity to make real connections with their customers on a local level – an advantage small businesses have in their communities over large competitors.
Of course, nothing comes easy, and it takes a lot of work to get the most out of your Small Business Saturday experience. More than anything, business owners and managers need to make sure that their employees are prepared this important day.
It’s always nice when a manager asks his or her employees about their availability and allows them to share their work preferences. However, you’re probably going to be needing all hands on deck this Saturday. That’s why you need to communicate this several weeks in advance so that your employees know that they need to be available for this special day of the year.
Send out a reminder about the date and make sure that this shopping holiday is visible on your work calendar so that no one is surprised. If you’re a fair boss and allow your employees to set their own availability and have a say in the scheduling process, they certainly won’t complain about absolutely having to be available for an important event such as Small Business Saturday. Just make sure you let them all know about your policy ahead of time!
Motivate your employees to give it their all on Small Business Saturday by showing that you are going to be there to support them all day. Make an effort to come in early and stay late with your staff.
Provide bottles of water, snacks and have lunch delivered to the store for your staff. This will make Small Business Saturday less stressful and help them stay energized throughout the day. Ensure each employee has enough break time and that duties are being evenly distributed.
Put in the extra effort to show them that you care in order to encourage them to do the same. Retaining your best employees always starts with being a good leader and showing your team that they are important to your business, especially on potentially stressful days like this.
Small Business Saturday can be very stressful for your employees if they come in unprepared. That’s why it’s a good idea to offer them extra training a week or so before the big event so that they can enter the event with a high level of confidence.
Put together some type of test or quiz to train your employees up on all of the things they need to know for the big sale. Make sure they know which items are on sale and which products they should be pushing the hardest. Give them tips on upselling and let them know which products go together well.
When it comes to big days like Small Business Saturday, where you know that you are going to get a lot of customers, you need to make sure that you and your team are going to be able to make the most of this increase in visitors. That’s why it’s can’t hurt to put in some extra effort to make sure that your team is all coached up and ready to go on that day.
Consider Hiring Help
The numbers are going up every year and it seems that Small Business Saturday is attracting more and more attention. That’s why it really can’t hurt to hire additional workers to help you that day, especially if last year was a struggle with your regular staff.
Remember, your business is losing money when you are understaffed. This is especially true during the holidays. The money you spend on hiring additional workers will easily be worth it if your team ends up being more effective and your sales go up because of it.
Hiring seasonal workers for the biggest shopping months of the year is something that all of the best and most successful small businesses do, because they realize that it’s important to not only have enough people to keep the greater influx of customers happy, but also make sure that their regular staff are not overworked during the holidays.
Prepare the Store
You already know that it’s going to be a pretty stressful day for your staff. That’s why you need to do your part beforehand to help them out and make your store run as smoothly as possible.
It’s important to get the store ready for the big holiday. Make sure that your inventory is neatly organized. Make sure that you have a good supply of the items that you know you’re going to sell in bunches. Make sure that your store is well organized so that your staff knows where all the items people are looking for are located.
It’s also very important to make sure that your store is cleared out and clutter free. There’s going to be a lot of people coming in and out of the store (hopefully) and you need to make sure that the floor plan is optimized for bigger crowds.
Make safety one of your priorities. Holiday shopping means more people and inventory in the store, which can make navigating the store difficult both for your team and your customers.
Remember, this is the time of the year during which small business owners need to put in the extra effort to attract customers and steal them away from the bigger players. That process starts with making sure that your employees are doing a good job serving your customers and the best way you can guarantee that is by making sure that your employees are ready to give it their all on important shopping days like this.