Though Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, small business owners can’t afford to miss the opportunity to start preparing for the holiday shopping season, which starts immediately after everyone’s finished eating turkey. In fact, it even starts before then in a few stores. According to CNN Money, Kmart plans to open at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving and will welcome customers until 11 p.m. on Black Friday. Last year, the retail chain closed at 4 p.m. on the holiday and then reopened at 8 p.m. so people could start buying gifts.
Of course, Black Friday isn’t the only big shopping day after Thanksgiving. Small Business Saturday occurs that weekend, and it seems that entrepreneurs want to fully capitalize on this opportunity. The National Federation of Independent Business recently found that 18 percent of small businesses will use paid advertisements to promote themselves ahead of Small Business Saturday. This is a 9 percent increase over the number of companies that used premium marketing resources in 2012.
Small businesses have to make the most of both Black Friday and Small Business Saturday so that they’ll start the holiday shopping season with a great deal of momentum. A strong start is important this year as there are five fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.
Below are some activities businesses can use to attract customers on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.
Give it away
The simplest and most effective solution is to hold promotional giveaways on both days. Customers enjoy receiving unique promotional products because they’re fun and show that a company has a personality.
What’s more, small business owners can easily incorporate holiday themes into this marketing strategy. For instance, promotional notepads can be transformed into Santa Claus’ naughty-or-nice list so parents can tell children that they’re taking notes for St. Nick.
Other promotional items can include holiday themes. Reindeer, snowmen, elves and snowflakes can all be emblazoned on small gifts like pens, water bottles, mugs and water bottles.
This may be the best strategy as these products are long-term advertisements that ensure that consumers will develop brand recognition throughout the entire holiday season. As a result, many people might return to a small business multiple times leading up to Christmas for all of their shopping needs.
Make it a party
November and December are supposed to be a celebratory time of year, which can actually help small business owners market their enterprises. Both months are full of parties and social gatherings, which entrepreneurs can use to attract shoppers on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.
A holiday bash can set one company apart from almost all of the competition. While other establishments are focused on sales and promotions, a special party would be unique. Many consumers would likely appreciate this as they’ll be able to have fun while they shop.
Small businesses don’t have to go above and beyond to throw a party. A few decorations, some holiday music and free food would likely be sufficient for creating a celebratory atmosphere within an enterprise at the start of the holiday shopping season.
Kmart and other major retailers want customers to start shopping as early as possible in order to maximize sales. From a business perspective, this is brilliant and seems like the optimal strategy. From a consumer and holiday perspective, this is a bit of a nightmare as no one wants to spend Thanksgiving trapped in a store or waiting in line to get in on Black Friday.
Small businesses rely on personal connections with their patrons in order to succeed in the long run. That’s why independent companies should open late on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Giving consumers time to see their family and enjoy Thanksgiving shows that an establishment understands the true meaning of the most wonderful time of the year.