October 26, 2021 | Marlin Staff Writer

Let’s face it: Life hasn’t been easy for a lot of local shops and restaurants since the start of the pandemic. That’s one of the reasons that many businesses are encouraging local patrons to support Small Business Saturday. Deloitte predicts there will be a 7% to 9% increase in consumer holiday spending in 2021, and securing some of this spend will help small businesses recover.

This year, Small Business Saturday — a holiday sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday — falls on Nov. 27. What is Small Business Saturday? It’s a prime opportunity to highlight the advantages of shopping local for the holidays to nearby consumers. By shopping small, people can put money back into their community and help local stores and restaurants regain ground after COVID-19.

The key to success this year is knowing how to attract customers to a small business. As more individuals receive vaccinations, consumers are more willing to venture out and shop in person. But there’s still a significant portion of people who prefer buying online. Local restaurants and retailers must cater to both audiences to improve Small Business Saturday Sales. Here’s how to attract consumers and encourage people to support small local businesses this year:

1. Offer one-day-only specials.

Who can resist exclusive Small Business Saturday deals? Many customers are looking for ways to buy gifts while maximizing their budgets. By offering a discount or deal people can’t resist, retailers can boost foot traffic in their stores. And that means they’ll likely sell other items, too.

One word of caution: Always make sure deals are truly irresistible. A so-so special won’t be captivating. Think bigger, like advertising 30% to 40% off a bestseller or offering a unique gift with purchases over a certain dollar amount. These “loss leaders” can drive more people to a Small Business Saturday sale. Just don’t forget to advertise these deals on all social media channels.

2. Partner with other small businesses.

A great way to stretch Small Business Saturday marketing dollars is to join forces with other local retailers and restaurants. Businesses in walkable neighborhoods can turn Nov. 27 into a full-blown community celebration.

Showcase involvement in a small business day event with balloons or an outdoor tent. Turn the atmosphere outside into an environment that sparks festivity and joy. Businesses don’t need to overspend to grab the attention of passersby. Rather, all they need to do is make sure they’re visible. Try handing out flyers in-store or offering a cookie to people who follow social accounts.

3. Offer online and in-store purchase options.

Many consumers are still cautious about shopping in stores. Small businesses can ease their concerns by offering e-commerce alternatives. For instance, showcase some items through a website or Facebook page. People could buy them online or by calling your store. Then, they could then have their purchases delivered or pick them up curbside.

Businesses don’t need to operate a huge e-commerce site or have their own apps to make this work. Get creative and try new solutions. The easier it is for people to patronize a shop or restaurant, the more sales the business will see.

Small businesses fuel communities and define neighborhoods. Though consumers may want to support small local businesses, they may not be sure how to. Reach out and catch their attention this holiday season with a Small Business Saturday kickoff they’ll be sure to remember.

At Marlin, we know that buying small is a big deal. Check out how our team supports Small Business Saturday this November by visiting our social pages and looking for the hashtags #MarlinLovesSB and #MarlinLovesSmallBusiness.