This post was written by Steve Nicastro and originally appeared on NerdWallet on November 13, 2017. It is shared here with permission.
Small Business Saturday has become a boon for local shops: Last year, 112 million consumers spent $15.4 million at such businesses, according to American Express, the company behind the shopping holiday founded in 2010.
Held the day after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday is dedicated to supporting the millions of small businesses that create jobs and boost the economy. For these businesses, it can be a great chance to gain new customers, grow sales and carry momentum into the holiday shopping season.
Here’s how your small business can capitalize on Small Business Saturday on Nov. 25.
Get the word out online
Make it clear on your website, on social media and in the local community that everyone’s invited to shop with you on Small Business Saturday. Also, give consumers an idea why they should visit your business or use your service.
Use Small Business Saturday hashtags on Twitter — #shopsmall and #dinesmall are popular ones — to stir up conversation about your event, engage customers and make your tweets easier to find.
Make sure that in-store customers know where to find you on social media and how to mention you, and that they can check in at your location, says Deborah Sweeney, owner of MyCorporation.com, an online legal filing service in Calabasas, California, whose expertise includes social media and online marketing.
Also, double-check that your business’s information is accurate and up-to-date on your website and social media accounts. This includes your business address, phone number and store hours, which you may consider extending on that Saturday.
Plan promotions, sales or events
Small Business Saturday is a great time to talk and engage with customers in person.
Brick-and-mortar businesses such as clothing shops can host open houses with sales and promotions, raffles or freebies, says Sherry Holub, creative director at JV Media Design, a website design and marketing agency in Roseburg, Oregon.
Service-based businesses can also participate, Holub says. Accountants or lawyers, for example, can host an in-office open house and have drawings for services at a discounted price; a hair salon can give away beauty items.
Collaborate with other businesses
Cross-promotion with other businesses in your community is another way to expand your outreach and take advantage of the local aspect of Small Business Saturday, says Jennifer Frye, founder and marketing coach at Clever Me in Detroit.
E-commerce businesses can offer online deals on products or services, but they may also look to collaborate with businesses that have a brick-and-mortar presence so they can meet customers in person. Retailers that sell complementary products can offer discounts or coupons for shopping at both businesses.
Evaluate staffing needs, company policies
With Black Friday and Small Business Saturday marking the beginning of the busy holiday season, now is a good time to re-evaluate staffing. For busy retailers, this may mean hiring extra clerks, floor persons and security.
You can also use this as an opportunity to retrain staff on policies and procedures, such as returns and refunds, safety, attendance and time off, disciplinary guidelines, loss prevention and interacting with customers.
Check inventory levels
The worst thing that can happen that day is having a long line of customers and turning them away because you’ve run out of inventory. Sales or promotions on popular items are likely to deplete inventory levels faster than normal.
Check in with suppliers and order products earlier than usual to make sure you’ll have enough inventory. Retail businesses can look to stock up on best-selling items ahead of time, while restaurants can check food inventory levels.
Having ample products on the shelves can also ensure you’re prepared to meet demand for the rest of the holiday shopping season.
Find and compare small-business loans
NerdWallet has created a comparison tool of the best small-business loans to meet your needs and goals. We gauged lender trustworthiness, market scope and user experience, among other factors, and arranged them by categories that include your revenue and how long you’ve been in business.