Black Friday may be the best known retail day on the holiday calendar, but the appeal of Small Business Saturday is growing fast, and this year’s stats show it. From photo ops of President Obama shopping in 2015 to record customer turnout this year, consumers are making it a priority to shop local and shop small for the holidays.

Small Business Saturday “officially” started seven years ago as a joint effort between the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express as a response to the success of large retailers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But the ideas of “buy local” and “shop small” have been slogans with growing appeal for a long time, and Small Business Saturday sprung from these sentiments. And it’s only grown over the years.

It’s great news for small businesses, and a sign of the times—as trends change, opportunities expand. We’ve covered the rapidly transforming payment methods that are being used on Black Friday, but what’s just as important is the disruption of Black Friday itself. Black Friday revenue peaked earlier this decade, and it’s in large part due to the growth of Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday—Small Business Saturday revenue surpassed $16 billion last year, and more shoppers than ever came out this year. Whether it’s positive word of mouth or a preference that runs against massive spaces and retailers, Small Business Saturday continues to succeed. 

Even though the day has passed, retailers should work hard to capture and cultivate the local crowd over the remainder of the holiday season. Not only are there customers out there looking to shop local, there are many more who would be interested if they were knew the unique products and compelling stories of local businesses. There’s plenty of interesting and innovative ways to boost your crowd, but here’s a few basic tips for appealing to the shop-small crowd.

Use both new and old advertising tools. For every company that attracts people through Facebook or a mobile-friendly website, there’s a post on Instagram or Reddit of one shop’s funny sign on the sidewalk. Make sure that you stand out enough to pique the interest of curious new customers as they walk by—after all, plenty of these people are out looking specifically to browse.

Play up the advantages of a small business in areas like customer service. When customers come into a local store, they have concerns beyond mere price. They’re looking for good customer service, quality products, even interesting backstories. Make sure your customers feel welcome in your store.

Stress the local. If customers buy local, that means they’re invested in local. Try to make sure you company has connections to the town beyond the land that it sits on. It doesn’t have to be anything extensive, but a small investment that shows you support the local community.

​​How to Keep Holiday Momentum Going After Small Business Saturday

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