To make this holiday a success, read up on everything you need to know about Small Business Saturday:
- What Is Small Business Saturday?
- When Is Small Business Saturday?
- Why Is Small Business Saturday Important?
- Small Business Saturday Tips
- Successful Small Business Saturday Campaigns
- Small Business Saturday FAQs
What Is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday is a shopping-based holiday focused on promoting small and local businesses, initially created in 2010 by American Express. In 2011, it was adopted by the government’s Small Business Administration as an officially sanctioned holiday.
In essence, Small Business Saturday is the “shop small” version of Black Friday.
When Is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday in November. Its exact date can vary, just as the date of Thanksgiving changes every year, but it’s always at the end of November. Here are the dates for Small Business Saturday for the coming years:
- Saturday, November 25 2023
- Saturday, November 30 2024
- Saturday, November 29 2025
Why Is Small Business Saturday Important?
Small Business Saturday is incredibly important for small businesses because it’s a day when all attention and spending is devoted to local businesses. Customer spending for this holiday has reached an all-time peak of $23.3 billion, and some years, shoppers on Small Business Saturday outnumber Black Friday shoppers.
Small Business Saturday is also particularly important for local economies. Dollars that go towards local businesses recirculate through communities roughly two to four times more than spending at larger businesses. So, by participating in Small Business Saturday, you’re keeping the wealth in your city and stimulating more local job opportunities.
Small Business Saturday Tips
How should you prep for one of the most important days for your small business? You want to maximize sales and retain new customers, but where do you start? Here are some Small Business Saturday ideas to get the most out of the holiday.
Prepare Your Stock & Staff
Without enough employees and products for Small Business Saturday, your sales will flop. Here’s everything you can do to get your workers and inventory ready for the big day.
- Make sure you’re properly stocked: Review sales trends from your busiest shopping holidays and order products that sold the fastest from those days, as well as any items in your new promotions.
- Check in with your managers: If they’re overwhelmed with customers during regular business, you need more staff for Small Business Saturday. Consider hiring seasonal help or incorporating automation into your workflows.
- Hold an all-hands meeting: Go over your holiday game plan. Clearly set sales goals and coach your employees on promotion details and what they should say to customers to promote the event (possibly with a sales script).
- Stage your store: Determine where your featured products should be place around the store about a week before the event. We recommend displaying your most popular items in highly-trafficked areas.
- Review the work schedule: Confirm shift times with employees and proactively manage any last-minute coverage changes or schedule conflicts about a week out so you can start Small Business Saturday with plenty of fully-trained staff.
Optimize Your Online Presence
Preparing for increased traffic online might be even more important than in-stores since more customers have shopped online than in person over the Thanksgiving weekend in recent years.
So, if your website isn’t already optimized for mobile or local SEO, now is the time. Start by creating Small Business Saturday landing pages that use “shop small” and local keywords for your business. Then, enable pop-up notifications for your Small Business Saturday promotions on your homepage.
Finally, check that your address, phone number, website URL, and additional business information is up-to-date on Google Business Profile, Apple Business Connect, and Yelp, as well as other local listings, review sites, and your social media accounts. And if you plan to extend your hours or hold a special event for Small Business Saturday, don’t forget to update holiday hours across all your local citations.
Get the Word Out
The sooner you can let people know that you’re participating in Small Business Saturday, the better. At the very latest, send out your marketing materials two weeks to a month before Small Business Saturday. This will give your customers enough time to see your deals and plan to shop. And if you want to promote the event on social media, we recommend posting about it one to three times a week starting a month or so prior to the holiday.
Don’t rely on one channel to spread the message. Your audience is on a variety of platforms, so diversify your promotions across these marketing methods:
- Email newsletter
- Social media posts
- Physical marketing materials, like flyers or billboards
- Google posts
- Website banners and pop-ups
- Word-of-mouth while shopping in-stores or at community events
Regardless of the channel, your promotional content needs to highlight what makes your business unique—whether that’s a product, service, or the vibe of your store. Spotlight the people who make your business possible, and share some of the history of your business. And above all else, keep your business’ values at the forefront—after all, they’re what make you, you!
Personalize Your Customer Experience
Because of your business’ size, you can make customers feel special in ways that larger companies can’t. While big businesses have to take a one-size-fits-all approach to their offerings, your advantage is personalization and attention to detail.
Personal touches like handwritten notes, customizable free items, or individualized packaging will help buyers feel more appreciated and connected to you over a mega brand.
Similarly, human interaction is another advantage of yours. Unlike major companies who might send buyers through several customer service hoops, you can offer more direct, one-on-one support. Staying well-staffed during peak hours is a great start, but updating your website’s FAQs and solving customer queries via phone and live chat will take your customer experience to the next level.
Offer Valuable Incentives
Incentives are a great way to pull in customers and encourage more shopping. Here are some starter ideas for your Small Business Saturday offer:
- Storewide or product discounts
- Free in-store gift wrapping
- Limited-time or one-day offers
- Free gift with purchase
- Buy one, get one free
- Reward for purchasing gift cards
You could also incentivize user-generated content ahead of (and during) Small Business Saturday. This social media marketing strategy brings more exposure to your business without you or your team sinking time and money into creating posts yourself. Your customers do the work for you and post directly to their feeds so that your brand reaches people who don’t already follow you.
As a reward for their effort and free marketing, you could offer any of the above incentives only after customers show you that they’ve posted a photo with your store or merchandise or used a certain hashtag in their post.
Launch a Product or Service
Since all eyes will be on small businesses for this holiday, it’s the perfect time for you to capitalize on the heightened attention with new product releases or services. That way, your items will gain traction faster.
Not only does a launch give you something to center your marketing campaigns around, but it also keeps your brand top-of-mind when your customers start buying gifts at the end of the year. If you don’t want to be completely overshadowed by big businesses during Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve, and other major gift-giving and shopping holidays.
Host or Join Local Events
Nothing brings in customers like free food, drinks, and exclusive items. As part of your Small Business Saturday event, let customers test your products, have staff demonstrate your services, and hire local performers or caterers to keep the day completely small business-oriented.
If you don’t have the time and resources to hold your own event, set up a booth at a local business fair or contribute to a Small Business Saturday auction. These Small Business Saturday strategies still put your brand in front of more (and new) customers.
Take the auction idea one step further by raffling off your business’ products and discounts rather than random donations. That way, new people can try out your business’ offerings, which can draw them into your store for repurchases or future shopping.
Partner With Other Small Business Owners
On Small Business Saturday, lifting up other small business owners can also lift you up. Start by finding nearby businesses that complement your own. For example, your winery might join forces with a cheese shop or a pet accessory boutique might pair up with a pet food supplier.
Once you identify compatible small businesses, plan a collaborative event, give each other shoutouts on social media, and craft a special offer or bundle deal that involves both of your products. You’ll benefit from getting your business in front of another business’ audience, while building long-lasting community relationships in the process.
Support Local Charities
75% of consumers expect businesses of all sizes to be giving back in some way, so if you already plan to donate, why not keep your monetary contributions local? If you do, you’ll see a more direct impact on your community, while also fulfilling the expectations of your customers.
During Small Business Saturday, spotlight your local charity donations or promote the local charities you’ve already supported throughout the year. You can even get help from your customers by letting them send a portion of their purchase on Small Business Saturday to an organization of your choosing.
Extend Your Small Business Saturday Hours
Saturdays are already the busiest shopping day of the week outside of the holidays, so Small Business Saturday has the potential to be your busiest day of the year. Giving customers more time to visit your store that day is an easy way to bring in extra revenue.
If you’re not usually open after 4 PM, your business should consider keeping the doors open later on Small Business Saturday to capitalize on peak shopping hours between 4 and 7 PM. And since most people shop online between 1 and 2 PM, you’ll want to be available for more live chats and calls during this time, too.
That said, every business is different, so you’ll need to run the cost-benefit analysis to staying open longer. Will the amount of money you make outweigh the cost of paying your employees overtime and leaving the lights on? Do you even have enough employees to work your extended hours? Can you plan employee lunches and breaks outside of peak hours?
Follow Up With Your Customers
You’ve successfully made it through Small Business Saturday, but your work isn’t done. You still need to deliver on your online orders and provide exemplary customer service if people have a problem with your services or want to return items after the holiday.
When you make every interaction with your brand positive—not just on Small Business Saturday—you’re shaping your customers’ long-term perception of your company. If it’s a good one, they’re more likely to turn into repeat buyers.
Another customer retention strategy you could practice is sending thank you emails to people who made a purchase on Small Business Saturday, along with a suggestion to join your newsletter for more exclusive events and discounts.
Additionally, take a moment after Small Business Saturday is over to assess how you did. Knowing what worked and what didn’t will be vital to your business strategy as you return to normal business operations and for next year’s Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday Campaign Examples
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Everybody.World incorporated a great event marketing strategy for Small Business Saturday with about 20 other local businesses. The event wasn’t held on Small Business Saturday, but the businesses still captured its spirit by encouraging customers to shop small and using a Small Business Saturday hashtag.
This campaign smartly tagged all of the event’s vendors in the post beforehand, promoting their involvement early so customers had plenty of time to learn about each business’ offerings and get excited to shop. In return for Everybody.World promoting those businesses to their customer base, the participating businesses returned the favor.
The event was also scheduled from 10 AM to 4 PM–ample time for customers to enjoy shopping in the morning and afternoon.
Rubies in the Rubble
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Rubies in the Rubble let their social media audience do the work in their Small Business Saturday campaign. The aim was to spotlight customers’ favorite sustainable small businesses. When customers commented with a tag of their favorite business, Rubies in the Rubble sent a 25% off coupon their way and even chose a few commenters to receive free gifts as a bonus!
This is a prime example of user-generated content in a Small Business Saturday campaign. Neither the customer nor the business needed to do too much work—customers only had to comment to get the deal, and Rubies in the Rubble just needed to send out discounts once users commented. As a result, plenty of small businesses benefited from extra exposure. Additionally, Rubies in the Rubble generated sales by offering a great deal.
Small Business Saturday FAQs
Which Businesses Can Participate in Small Business Saturday?
There aren’t requirements for which businesses can participate in Small Business Saturday. That’s because a “small business” is defined in different ways— by employee size, sales volume, or yearly income. But none of these criteria really impact who can celebrate Small Business Saturday. Even large businesses can get involved by supporting smaller businesses in their area and encouraging customers to shop at spots near them.
How Can Service-Area Businesses Celebrate Small Business Saturday?
Service-area businesses without a physical storefront can still participate in Small Business Saturday by either partnering with businesses that have a place for customers to visit or by offering limited-time service discounts. Customers will still be shopping online for Small Business Saturday, so be sure to promote your deals on your website, social media, and email newsletter.
Are There Any Other Government-Sanctioned Times to Support Small Businesses?
Yes, the Small Business Administration (SBA) promotes three additional holidays focused on supporting small businesses:
- National Small Business Week: A week around the end of April and beginning of May when the SBA gives out awards and media coverage for small businesses
- National Veterans Small Business Week: A week around the end of October and beginning of November to celebrate small businesses owned by military service members, veterans, and military spouses
- National Women’s Small Business Month: The month of October to honor women-owned small businesses and female entrepreneurs
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Stefanie Vanderbeek is a content strategist and writer who specializes in long-form digital content and website SEO optimization. Stefanie earned her Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Advertising and Public Relations in 2021. In her free time, you can find Stefanie reading, deep diving into video game lore, singing in her professional vocal group, or traveling the world!