5 Tips and Tricks for Small Business Saturday

Read Time: 4 minutes

In the midst of a recession in 2010 American Express started the idea of Small Business Saturday.  After only a year Senate unanimously passed a resolution in support for the holiday and it wasn’t long until all 50 states were showing their endorsement for the much-needed boost to their local business economies.  Even Shaquille O’Neal showed his support for the holiday as can be seen in the video below. 

*created for Small Business Saturday 2017

Many of you may be surprised to know that since 2010, over 103 Billion dollars have been spent at local businesses in support of the holiday.  That translates to 103  Billion dollars spent in just 9 days.  Assuming that these small businesses were open for at least 12 hours for the holiday, that’s roughly 954 million dollars per hour that these small businesses were open on this particular holiday.  That is a dollar amount I personally can’t even comprehend. 

But what exactly is Small Business Saturday? What are its long-lasting benefits?  Finally, what are 5 ways your business can benefit more from its success?

1. What is Small Business Saturday?

November 30, 2019, will mark the 10th annual anniversary of the shopping holiday.  According to the 2018 Small Business Economic Impact Report commissioned by American Express

“Every time you pick up a coffee at your local café, grab lunch at the mom-and-pop shop, or buy a new bag from a local store, you’re making an impact in your community. In fact, for every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S., approximately 67 cents stays in the local community.”

Per Wikipedia Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday held during the Saturday after US Thanksgiving during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. This Saturday is always the last one in November, so it falls between November 24 and November 30.

It was designed by American Express to counterbalance the large shopping day known as Black Friday that typically benefitted big box stores or the emerging Cyber Monday that was benefitting Online Retailers. 

2. What are some long-lasting benefits of Small Business Saturday?

  1. As previously mentioned, 67% of the money spent at a local small business stays in the local economy.  This means that more of your local community will have the money and recourses to spend with you again.  So, it’s not only worth it to have your customers shop local, but its important for you to do the same.
  2. Small Business Saturday is also showing a year-long benefit for merchants. Participating in Small Business Saturday has become a powerful way for merchants to draw customers into their brick and mortar stores or restaurants while building customer loyalty for their businesses. Integrity Pays.
  3. In fact, small businesses drive much of the United States economy. Just how many small businesses are there in the U.S.? Currently, there are 28 million American small businesses, which account for 54% of all U.S. sales. Forbes Thus, without small businesses our whole economy would crash and burn. 
  4. To sum it up by participating as both a consumer and retailer in Small Business Saturday you are more likely to drive local traffic year-round, which in turn keeps other small businesses open, which in turn betters the local economy, which in turn keeps you in business.

3. 5 Tips for Small Business Saturday

  1. Get your “game face (book) on.”
    • You’re already promoting your events and industry news on Facebook anyway.  Why not do a little plug for Small Business Saturday.  Remember though customers want to be informed via Facebook not really sold through it.  A good way to do this is to share the positive statistics of shopping local not just to your store but others in your close vicinity. 
  2. Cross-Promote
    • Get with other business owners in your strip mall, shopping center, or whatever and think of ways to drive traffic to your location.  Maybe hire a high school band, a family-friendly comedian, or local DJ, that can help you make a day for your clients to relax, enjoy, and get their shopping done.  PS don’t forget to tell the local news stations.
  3. Receipt Message Power
    • You have the power to deliver a message to a majority of the people who shop in your store, seconds after they make a purchase.  Why not take advantage of that? For the next 14 days have a message at the bottom of your receipt that says come back November 30th for Small Business Saturday.    
  4. Sidewalk Signs
    • Man are these things cheap.  Get a little chalkboard sign and in big colorful letters say “Support our local economy.  Shop here on Small Business Saturday 11/30” and put it on your sidewalk for the next 2 weeks. 
  5. Direct Email Marketing
    • Several weeks ago I mentioned Zip Code based targeted marketing, if you missed it you can read it here.  Send an email blast to everyone that lives in your city.  It can say something to the effect of “Love Cleveland, Prove it.” In your email you can list the benefits to the community of shopping local, then ask them to come into the store for a special loyal customer Small Business Saturday Deal.” 


My father always told me growing up that if you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.  That’s exactly why I write these articles every week and that’s exactly why I conduct these interviews every day.  As a consumer, as a retailer, and as a consultant I am imploring you to make this Small Business Saturday matter, without it we will lose more and more ground to the Chewy’s and Amazon’s of our delicate ecosystem.  I promise you if now is not the right time; it never will be.  If you’d like to read more about Small Business Saturday, you can do so here.

Mark Nelms is a Business Development Manager for Pet Rewards POS.  He has conducted over 400 interviews with retailers from almost every vertical and size.  In prior roles, he’s assisted clients like Cumberland Packaging Corporation (Sweet N’ Low), The New England Patriots, and NCR (National Cash Register.)

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