Join in on Small Business Saturday

Join in on Small Business SaturdayThe nationally recognized Small Business Saturday (SBS) is coming up quickly on Saturday (what other day would it be!), November 29, 2014. While most people think of shopping at boutique stores, coffee houses and restaurants, why not get them thinking about your small business, the pharmacy. Since this effort is already being promoted on a national level, take advantage of it.

If you have previously participated in SBS, then keep up the good work! However, don’t stop reading, there may be some ideas you can incorporate into your current efforts. If you haven’t participated in the past, Small Business Saturday is an easy way to participate in the community, and build up recognition for your store.

To provide a bit of background on SBS, it was started to provide an opportunity to engage customers and local communities around the benefits of supporting locally owned businesses. Promotional efforts of SBS can include local chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus to international companies such as American Express who founded this day in 2010.

Since this event follows one of the biggest shopping days of the year, it is to your advantage to participate while the holiday shopping mood is still in full swing. Here are several tips to help you make the most of this day for your small, locally owned business.

Local promotion: Who is promoting this effort in your community? Do they have a list that you can have your business name added to that will be displayed for community members to see? Typically, it is the chamber of commerce, convention and visitors bureau, or the downtown association that would provide marketing for this event.

Market it yourself: Spread the word through your social media channels, media advertisements, and signage and flyers throughout the store. Let people know that you will be participating in SBS and if you will have special promotions or activities for them to take advantage of. This is a great day to host your holiday open house.

Offer SBS promotions: People will still be coming off the high of Black Friday, so they will be looking for good prices and discounts on products. You don’t have to put the entire store on sale, but maybe offer a discount on a certain product line or a percentage off once a customer spends a specific dollar amount ($5 off a purchase of $60 or more).

Band together with others: If you are in a shopping plaza or have other locally owned participating businesses near you, collaborate to promote your stores and hold a special contest for participants to enter. For example, create a bingo card with all the names of the participating stores on it. Each customer takes the bingo card to the stores, receives a stamp or a sticker, and upon completion they can enter their card into a drawing to win a gift card or prize basket with products from each store.

By working together you can also increase your marketing efforts and draw in new customers to your store that might frequently visit the neighboring location.

Host a special event: Sure, participating in SBS is a special event, but make your store stand out. Something as simple as providing snacks and warm drinks to customers will provide them with happy memories and encourage them to return. If you sell local products then see if the maker of these products would come into the store to provide a demonstration, samples of the products, or even autograph the products (such as a book or CD). This will be a win-win for both locally owned businesses!

Keep the children entertained: Many families will come to SBS, so why not provide the children some entertainment while mom and dad have a chance to quietly look around. Provide a make ‘n take product for the children such as a simple Christmas ornament or card; have a local church group provide a puppet show, or convince the jolly gentleman in your store to dress up as Santa and hand out candy canes. The children will remember your store if you have something just for them, and will ask their parents to return.

No matter what you decide to do, this is a great opportunity that is already taking place, with or without you, so why not join in! For more information about Small Business Saturday and additional tips, visit the American Express Small Business Saturday website.

Sarah Luebbert
Director of Communications
Missouri Pharmacy Association


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