On 1st December, Small Business Saturday returns to the UK for its 6th year in a row. Set-up originally in the U.S. as the antithesis to Black Friday - a day dedicated to promoting small businesses rather than the large corporates that dominate the Christmas shopping season - the initiative has now gained considerable traction in the UK.
In fact, according to a report by American Express, last year saw festive shoppers spend a record breaking £748 million on the day and forecasters have predicted this year’s Small Business Saturday to be the most profitable yet. Whether you’re an SME wanting to drum up additional sales, or a shopper wanting to bag yourself a bargain, we’ve got all the information you need to get involved with the scheme.
What’s The Purpose of Small Business Saturday?
SMEs are forced to compete against big businesses with huge marketing budgets all year round. When it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this competition is even further intensified and unfortunately many small businesses end up losing out on the pre-Christmas rush as a result. However, thanks to the introduction of Small Business Saturday, independent high-street retailers, smaller tradesman and service companies alike are finally given the oppurtunity to promote their brands and drum up the additional business that they deserve.
Why Your Business Needs To Get Involved
Increase Brand Awareness Without The Additional Cost
As an SME, building your brands reputation and getting your name out there can be incredibly difficult and frustrating, especially when competing against large corporates with even bigger advertising resources. By getting involved with the day itself, your company will benefit from a boost to its social media presence and general reach:
The event organisers have promised that every SME who takes part will receive a shout-out over on one of their many social media channels; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Considering that their twitter page alone has a total of 44.7K followers, and counting, this is a truly great oppurtunity to expand your online following at no additional cost.
Better still, last year #SmallBizSatUK trended number 1 on Twitter for the entire duration of the day, so it’s definitely worth making the most of the hashtag by including it within the tweets you make from your brand's account.
Boost Christmas Sales
Following the reported spend from last year’s event (£748 million), takings are forecasted to reach record highs this year too with seasonal shoppers out in force ready to support their local businesses. To make the most of this influx in shoppers, your business should offer personalised incentives that large businesses simply cannot rival;
Offer a Small Business Saturday bundle. Instead of just promoting a sale, focus on the unique and personalised experience that your small business can provide; try creating bespoke bundles and packages of a few selective products or services at a discounted price.
Personalise your packaging and offer a gift-wrapping service that can be tailored to your client’s individual taste. Consider adding a festive hand-written thank you note to all online orders and give the customer a choice of wrapping paper and ribbon.
Host a Christmas contest on social media to win one of your products or services. This will drum up local attention in the run up to the event and increase potential spending on the day.
Get specific; don’t just host a generic ‘sale’, instead tell your potential customers exactly what discounts you will be offering. You can send emails out, post about it on social media and put signs up in the windows of your premises.
How To Take Part:
Download the Small Business Saturday UK marketing package for free from the event's website. The package includes posters, digital banners and logos, which you can use both online and within your premises.
Register for a free listing on Small Business Finder. This is the event's own business directory, which allows shoppers to search for small businesses according to their location and the products that they offer.
The Small Business Saturday bus tour will also be travelling across the UK, calling at thirty different towns from Thursday 25th October – Wednesday 28th November. The tour will be offering small business owners free mentoring sessions along the way.
Why Should Shoppers Support The Event?
Boost The Economy
Contrary to popular belief the small aren’t the minority and they definitely don’t have the smallest impact on the UK economy. The Federation of Small Businesses 2018 report found that small businesses form 99.3% of all private sector business, account for 16.3 million jobs in the UK and have an annual turnover worth £2.0 trillion. So it is safe to say that without SMEs the UK’s unemployment rates would rapidly increase and the economy would suffer as a result.
Build A Stronger Community
When you shop small and local, significantly more of that money stays within your community. As small businesses grow from the support of local shoppers, they also need to employ additional staff to keep up with the demand. So, you essentially help to create more jobs for those in your local community.
Small businesses are also integral to your community’s identity. Would you prefer to live in a community that is dominated by huge corporate chains, or would you prefer to live somewhere that benefits from the variety, expertise and unique charm of small independent businesses? How would you feel if the beloved local pub on the corner shut-down? Or what if that little local Italian that you visit every year for your birthday was no longer there? Small businesses are absolutely crucial to the society that we live in. Help to preserve the vibrant character that small businesses bring to your town on Saturday 1st December.