As we end Black Friday weekend 2020 in the UK, independents should focus on Small Business Saturday suggests Naeem Arif, Chair of the Midlands Retail & Hospitality Forum.
This week retail is officially unlocked in the UK and having missed out on Black Friday, retailers will be looking at every possible opportunity in December to fill their tills. The first of these opportunities will be Small Business Saturday, which will fall Saturday 5th December.
Since it’s UK launch in 2013, Small Business Saturday is a reminder to support all those local businesses who we reach to whenever we need a sponsor for the Rugby Team or Raffle Prize for a local charity. Why not then remind our communities of a day when they should reciprocate the local love.
In 2019 a reported 17 million of us did exactly that.
This year, more than ever, we need to see the same kind of enthusiasm by shoppers who have been stuck at home during Lockdown 2.0. With three Saturdays left until Christmas, all the talk right now is about ‘pent-up demand’ and it is a real possibility that this will materialise into a foot flow onto the high street. Whilst larger brands will have resources available to launch a big campaign, the independents will need to work hard to get their share of the action.
With this in mind, especially if you have a limited budget, what should you be doing right now to prepare for this weekend? Here’s how you can make the most of Small Business Saturday.
Firstly, if you are expecting queues of customers, you can’t sell what you don’t have on the shelf, so having stock, or access to stock will be important. So work out what you have available and make sure you can get more of your best sellers.
Secondly, make sure you deliver a good service, that means, when customers roll up, they want to see you ready and able serve them. If you have been off for the month, then remind yourself of how to serve your customers, what they want to see and how to make it easy for them to buy from you. This applies to your staff, who may have been sitting at home on Furlough, you don’t want them coming back in cold, you want to ensure they are warmed up for Saturday.
Thirdly, think about some form of promotion. If you don’t, your competitors, especially the large chains, will probably run some sales promotions and you need something to get the attention of your customers. It does not have to be a massive discount, it could be an upgrade or maybe ‘buy a second for half price’.
Importantly, for the rest of this week, make sure you tell everyone about Small Business Saturday. Use all your traditional and digital tools in order to get the message out. This means, not only go to Facebook but also put up Posters in the windows and anything else to let people know what you will be offering on Small Business Saturday. This is a time for positive intent and confidence and those who take some initiative are most likely to get results.