Our resident social media expert and blogger extraordinaire Ray Sidney-Smith discusses the importance of having a cohesive marketing campaign for the holiday season.
For nearly the last decade, here in the United States, the biggest shopping day of the year has been the day after Thanksgiving. We all know it as Black Friday. However, for the savvy business owner especially here in Alexandria Virginia, we have several other retail business opportunities available than just Black Friday.
While the Friday after Thanksgiving is still the most important retail shopping day of the year, Small Business retail shops, and even service-based businesses that can benefit during the 4th quarter holiday season shopping, should plan to create a cohesive marketing campaign for more than just Black Friday. The Saturday after Thanksgiving was dubbed Small Business Saturday as an American Express program back in 2010, according to their website to “help businesses with their most pressing need — getting more customers.” For the first time the National Retail Federation inquired about holiday shoppers taking advantage of Small Business Saturday, and according to their recent press release (“140 Million Holiday Shoppers Likely to Take Advantage of Thanksgiving Weekend Deals in Stores and Online, According to NRF”), “nearly three-quarters (72.7%) [of the 140 million shoppers this weekend] say they will or may specifically shop for Small Business Saturday.” That’s an astonishing testament to the power of Small Business Saturday and the Small Business Movement that American Express has mounted on all our behalf.
Included in the holiday shopping weekend festivities is the not-as-famous-but-just-as-important Cyber Monday. While it’s an unfortunate statistic that more than 60% of small businesses still lack a website, Cyber Monday stands to top 2.29 billion dollars in online sales as it did in 2013. Are you taking advantage of that piece of the retail marketing holiday pie? If not, perhaps you should make an appointment to talk to a counselor over at Alexandria Small Business Development Center, to get you on track to making that website happen in 2015. Online and mobile commerce stand to be a growing and potentially the largest part of retail trade in the coming years. Not that brick-and-mortar should ever go away, but for those stores that cannot hold unlimited inventory or stay open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, online and mobile commerce help you capture that revenue while you spend time with your family, or better yet, sleep!
Additionally, there is a growing counter-consumerism movement happening with the advent of Buy Nothing Day (which is the same day as Black Friday) and Giving Tuesday.
Buy Nothing Day is your opportunity to join forces with the Shop Small movement and encourage people, as the American Independent Business Alliance has promoted, to buy less disposable and more “green/environmentally-friendly” products, more durable goods and locally sourced and made products. Also, as I said earlier, if you provide a service that can benefit from the holiday shopping season, this is your time to jump in. For example, if you have a business such as a beauty salon or yoga studio, this is your time to help holiday shoppers “buy nothing” by buying gift certificate packages for their loved ones of your services. Promote buying of local, independent business gift cards instead of from large corporate ones. Beware that Buy Nothing Day has promoted protests, sit-ins, “zombie walks” and other public events in shopping malls and downtown areas, so train your staff on how to manage in the unlikely event it happens near you, but from reports they have never caused a problem for businesses (and generally sound like informative and non-confrontational events) so it’s best to be respectful and continue on with business as usual.
On the other hand, Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving which started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, provides your business a great opportunity to show that you support for your local community. “The goal of #GivingTuesday is to encourage people everywhere including retailers, charities, online organizations, community centers, individuals and families to come together with one common purpose,” says Charity Navigator, “—to help others and incentivize ways to give more, give smarter, and celebrate the great American spirit of generosity through charitable contributions and volunteerism.” How can your business incorporate giving into your holiday marketing campaign? It can be as simple as a clothing or food drive, coordinating a volunteer outing for your staff at Carpenter’s Shelter, or other creative ways to give back.
Altogether, Black Friday, Buy Nothing Day, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday combined give you an amazing retail marketing platform on which to make your Q4 a profitable and enjoyable buying season for your Small Business and your local community. And, don’t forget to take advantage of the Social Media media storm that is happening around the hashtags #shopsmall, #blackfriday, #cybermonday and #givingtuesday over the next few days and into next week.
As always, we are here to help with startup to veteran to growth businesses, and we’re no-cost! Let us know how we can help, and we hope you have a great holiday season!
This blog was originally posted on AlexandriaSmallBusiness.com on 11/27/14.