Local Retailers Are Doing Small Business Saturday All Wrong

Celebrating American Express’ Small Business Saturday in Media, PA!

Argh … I think I heard Charlie Brown say something as Lucy pulled the Small Business Saturday doormat from under his feet! Was Small Business Saturday a success? How can the next one be a success? The National Federation of Independent Businesses, or NFIB, reports that Small Business Saturdays are successful. In fact, in 2013 consumers spent $5.5 billion on one Saturday!

My recent Small Business Saturday shopping adventure began with a ride on the “Small Business Saturday (American) Express” today to Media, PA – literally a train from Drexel Hill, PA to Media, PA! While others visited the big box stores in King of Prussia stores, I ate and shopped at six small businesses! My shopping motivation was the Small Business Saturday event that motivated me; especially the credit (i.e., $25 in 2012 and $10 credit in 2013). On my journey, I observed that most small businesses were not embracing the event’s potential. I think they were leaving money and “customer relationship currency” on the table!

Could Small Business Saturday have been more successful? I believe some small business owners continue to miss out on opportunities like Small Business Saturday. Yes, many small businesses see a bump in sales thanks to American Express’ statement credit (a great boon to shoppers), but could they have a bigger bump? My take-away from from my Saturday shopping adventure in the wonderful Main Street America location, Media, PA, is that some small business owners are not equipped to help themselves to compete against the big brands! Many look at the great #SmallBizSat and #ShopSmall event purely as a way to get people through their door. They are missing the opportunity to start a ‘relationship’ and drive repeat sales.

This Small Business Saturday observation is not an indictment, rather, a challenge to think of the big picture! If you are a small business owner, then need to embrace the day as a kick-start for the holidays AND the year ahead! The NFIB reports that 36% of independent business owners consider that Small Business Saturday is the most important shopping day of the year compared to 24% saying that Black Friday holds that classification.

I am concerned with the small businesses who did not truly embrace this opportunity that American Express teed up for them. This was the event that should have kicked off Q4 and Q1 for every store owner. This event was so much more than some window flyers, QR code stickers and cool doormats. These were great tools to help the small business owner focus to get customers to buy more, buy more often and visit again soon! From under-trained staff to a lack of a bounce-back strategy there were many missed opportunities I saw today:

4 Ways Small Business Owners Can Leverage Small Business Saturday

Make Sure The Staff Is Aware Of Small Business Saturday. Most of the staff at the six stores I visited did NOT know about the day or how to explain how the credit worked (e.g., “Are you part of Small Business Saturday?”) I always recommend to small business owners that they train their staff on all frequently asked questions, or at least put this information in the “daily sheet” to be distributed on site or via email.

Maximize The Customer Service Experience. Small Business Saturday is the new Black Friday for small business owners! Every small business can benefit from team member training on their in-store strategy. A key training item to cover is how to welcome customers to the store. For example, store co-workers should welcome visitors with something that sounds like “Welcome to Quotations and Thanks For Stopping By On Small Business Saturday”. Another item to cover is to how to maximize the moment when the customer leaves the store. For example, “Thank you for stopping by., Please follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/EarthAndState for new gift ideas”. Each team member is the face of every small business, so take advantage of each opportunity!

Implement A Customer Bounce-Back Strategy. Only one store I visited (i.e., Earth And State) used a strategy to get me to return to make another purchase within ten days. They were one of the few businesses who seemed to understand the potential of new customers and the need to get them to come back again soon! Every store needs to consider a similar strategy to maximize the RFM – recency, frequency, money model. It’s a great way to maximize a day like Small Business Saturday!

Use Social Media As A Key Strategy To Build An Ongoing Relationship. Social media is the new language of the customer. Because many small business owners do not understand it or “it’s not for them”, they don’t embrace it as a way to connect with customers. None fo the stores I visited had articulated a clear path to engage with them on social media, whether it was Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare. Customers are using social media as the language of the buying journey. I used the location-based crowdsourcing platform Foursquare to “check in” at every participating Small Business Saturday store. Unfortunately, there was no mention that they were a Small Business Saturday participant. Not using Foursquare was a missed opportunity! In fact, one business had a Facebook call-out on their web page that linked to a developer page and NOT their own Facebook page.

If you have a question about each of these four observations and how you can leverage them to your advantage, please contact me with a personal question or leave a comment on this post!

Some other related posts that you might find useful are:

However, I am dismayed with the amount of small businesses who did not truly embrace this opportunity that American Express teed up for them. This was the event that should have kicked off Q4 and Q1 for every store owner. This event was so much more than some window flyers, QR code stickers and cool doormats. These were great tools to help the small business owner focus to get customers to buy more, buy more often and visit again soon! From under-trained staff to a lack of a bounce-back strategy there were many missed opportunities I saw today:

Staff Knowledge. Most staff at the six stores I visited did NOT know about the day or how to to explain how the credit worked (e.g., “Are you part of Small Business Saturday?”  I always recommend to small business owners that they train their staff on all frequently asked questions, or at least put this information in the “daily sheet” to be distributed on site or via email. (What you don’t have a daily sheet in place to train and inform your staff?)

Sign For Deal Variety Stores In Media, PA

Staff Customer Service. Small Business Saturday is the new Black Friday for small business owners! Every small business would benefit if each team member was trained on at least two phrases that welcome customers to the store (e.g., “Welcome to Quotations and Thanks For Stopping By On Small Business Saturday”) and when they leave (e.g., “Thank you for stopping by. Please follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/EarthAndState for new gift ideas”) Each team member is the face of every small business, so take advantage of each opportunity!

No Bounce Back Strategy. Only one store I visited (i.e., Earth And State) used a strategy to get me to return to make another purchase within ten days. This strategy was perfect!  They were one of the few businesses who seemed to understand the potential of new customers … get them to come back again soon! Every store needs to consider should a similar strategy to maximize the RFM – recency, frequency, money model. It’s a great way to maximize a day like Small Business Saturday!

Not Leveraging Social Media. Social media is the new language of the customer and it appears that many small business owners do not want to embrace it, event with the big brands looking to spend more on social media marketing in local neighborhoods in 2013. Not one store that I visited had a clear path to engage with them on social media, whether it was Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare. Customers are using social media as their new buying process language! In fact,  I checked in on Foursquare on every store and there was no mention that they were a Small Business Saturday participant (missed opportunity!) In fact, one business had a Facebook call out on their web page … and it linked to a developer page and NOT their own Facebook page.

If you have a question about each of these four observations and how you can leverage them to your advantage, please contact me with a personal question or leave a comment on this post!

Some other related posts that you might find useful are:

So, Mr. Small Business Owner, I am your greatest fan! Don’t miss the opportunity to start to build a long-term relationship with your customers during a pack-them-in-the-store day like American Express’ Small Business Saturday! Instead of feeling like the mat was pulled out from under you when customers don’t return, use that mat to keep on welcoming back your customers time and time again!

 

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: bizecoideas.com

  2. I truly love your blog.. Pleasant colors & theme.
    Did you make this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m attempting to create my own website and would like to find out where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Appreciate it!

  3. Gerry Moran (Post author)

    Hello, thanks for the kind words! Yes, I used a Genesis theme on WordPress. Lots of long weekends to get me to a happy place!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.