Now in its fourth year, “Small Business Saturday” (the Saturday after Thanksgiving) is a consumer event created by American Express encouraging shoppers to “shop small” in their communities. Here are seven tips from Bob and Susan Negen, and Bob Phibbs – all retail experts – for small businesses ready to maximize holiday sales on Nov. 28.
1. Make a great first impression.
Because there will be many people walking into your store for the first time, they won’t know or realize that you and your staff have been working long hours preparing for the holiday shopping season. Make sure you all provide a terrific first experience so your visitors will come back to do additional shopping for Christmas or other holidays.
2. Bundle your products.
Instead of offering a blanket percentage off all products in your store, give customers the opportunity to bundle a variety of products for a greater discount. For instance, offer a special price on candles to everyone who purchases a centerpiece, or include a moisture meter for a few dollars extra with every poinsettia or Norfolk Island pine over a certain price. You also can offer a gift card to your store for all purchases over a certain amount, or offer a progressive discount program where the percentage off increases as purchase totals increase. Use your imagination.
3. Coach your staff.
Make sure they know the right questions to ask to help your customers make the perfect purchases. Educate them about new products or sales so they can answer your customers’ questions, and teach them which special holiday add-ons you want them to sell at the register.
4. Band together.
Hold a meeting with other local businesses to create a “fun” plan. Some ideas could be holding a scavenger hunt that includes all participating stores or creating a “Small Business Passport” with offers from every merchant involved and entry into a drawing for all customers who visit every store. (Click here to get details on these and other event ideas.)
5. Gather customer names and email addresses.
Get customer contact information, especially when it’s busy, so you can sell to them later through direct-mail announcements and/or email blasts. Have a clipboard ready, and ask customers to jot down their information while they’re in line. Consider offering an immediate 5 percent or 10 percent discount on their purchase(s) as incentives.
6. Utilize social media.
Tell customers to follow you on Facebook or Twitter, and request they share photos of your shop with both a hashtag specific to your store and #shopsmall. Post updates on how long you plan to be open that day as well as pictures of the great deals your shop is offering.
7. Give back to the community.
Find a local charity, and collect donations, pledge a certain percentage of your sales or sponsor a fundraising event. Customers reportedly “feel good” when they see businesses trying to make their communities better places.
Bob and Susan Negen are the co-founders of WhizBang! Training. For more information, call (800) 842-1660, or visit www.whizbangtraining.com, where you can sign up for the free “WhizBang! Tip of the Week.”
Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor, is a nationally recognized business strategist, customer service expert and sales coach. For more information, visit www.retaildoc.com, where you can sign up for his free weekly newsletter.