Get the Most From Small Business Saturday

Thanksgiving is just around the corner with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday right on its tail. Is your business ready? In 2018, consumers spent more than $23 billion on Black Friday, and nearly $18 billion on Small Business Saturday. The following are tips to help you take advantage of these high-traffic shopping days.

Make a plan

If your store is going to take advantage of Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, you’re going to need a strategy. Will you open early? What kind of deals will you offer? How do you separate yourself from the competition? Will you need to schedule additional employees to manage the extra traffic?

• Many people think of in-store sales when they think of these big shopping days, but don’t forget about the online shoppers! Offering sales on your website can help you reach shoppers who may not be able to make it to your store.

• Whether you’re opening two hours early, offering 40 percent off a popular product online, or having an in-store giveaway, coming up with a plan will ensure everyone – your customers, your staff and you – knows what to expect.

Spread the news

Once you’ve figured out your plan of action, start spreading the word. The earlier you start telling people, the more time they have to make plans to visit you. You may have heard of the Rule of 7: Customers need to see or hear your marketing message seven times before they take action. With this in mind, you’ll want to start sharing your plans early and often.

• As early as November 1, post any information about your special plans on your website’s home page as a news item or exciting graphic. If your site has a blog, write a post about the upcoming sale. And don’t forget to post about it on your social media channels.

• Get social and encourage engagement. Sharing your plans on social media can help you spread the word about any sales or special events you cook up.

• Once you’ve started spreading the news, create fun and engaging posts teasing the online or in-store promotions you will offer. You can also use these posts to engage with your social followers by asking questions. For example: “Black Friday is almost here! What are your shopping traditions? Be sure to visit us beginning at 5:00 a.m. for big savings!”

• Giveaways and contests are powerful tools here, too. Running a contest where customers need to share a Facebook post, follow you on Twitter or check in at your location for a chance to win a product or service can help grow your social audience and spread the word about your business.

Make sure your staff is prepared

No offense, but the thought of lots of customers crowding into your store and mucking about in your inventory might not bring tears of joy to your employees’ faces. There’s a lot of work behind those sales. Your staff has to be ready for Small Business Saturday in every way possible, both mentally and in preparation.

• Encourage a right attitude. Your staff’s attitude must be one of excitement, not drudgery. On the floor, the day of the event, make sure each employee has enough break time, even letting them alternate their duties so they don’t get bored.

• Have enough staff to do the job. All hands on deck, even if that means hiring temporary help. Plan ahead and watch for vacation or day-off requests.

• Review customer service best practices. Service is part of what you’re selling, so you have to excel in this area. Go further than simply reminding employees what you expect of them. Be sure they’re well versed in the promotions, specials, and go so far as to give them the power to make on-the-spot decisions regarding customer situations that might arise.

• Incentivize the day. Find a way to reward or treat your employees during the hectic day. Whether you offer increased commissions or treat the whole crew to a meal or some other reward after, help them see the day as positive for them, too.

• For some customers, this may be the first time they experience your store. Make sure they have a great experience with your staff.

With nearly $40 billion spent over Black Friday and Small Business Saturday in 2018, there’s no reason for your business not to cash in with in-store or online sales of your own!

Article provided by ARI Network Services. ARI’s suite of award-winning data-driven software tools and marketing services help dealers “Sell More Stuff!” online and in-store. ARI removes the complexity of selling and servicing new and used inventory, parts, garments and accessories for customers in the outdoor power equipment, powersports, marine, RV, automotive tire and wheel, and white goods industries. More than 23,500 equipment dealers, 195 distributors and 140 manufacturers worldwide leverage ARI’s website (www.arinet.com) and eCatalog platforms to “Sell More Stuff!”

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