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Time to Get Serious About Small Business Saturday!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and so is Small Business Saturday. If you’re serious about partaking in this annual program, it’s time to start prepping both your salon and staff.

Small Business Saturday, which takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 30, encourages people across the United States to get out and shop small or local as opposed to visiting big-box stores and chains.

An American Express initiative, it’s geared more toward holiday shopping right after Black Friday, however, many types of retailers dovetail on the opportunity to capture consumer dollars.

And that includes bridal retailers – simply put, Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity to tap into the marketing program, promote the benefits of your “small” store and fill dressing rooms that day.

Get going now with the following tips:

1. Source the right staff

If you’re planning something special, your entire staff must be on board. However, some team members may find event or marketing planning especially exciting.

Find out who wants to be involved and consider giving these employees an incentive for helping with tasks you’ll need to assign.

You may need to partner with them or completely hand over the reins… you know their skills and capacity best.

Point is, build engagement around this event and empower your people to get involved and remain invested from start to finish.

2. Pick a theme or special event idea

What do you want to do and how will it be done?

These two questions should spark some seriously creative juices. Ask your staff for suggestions, sorting through the pros and cons of each. Whatever theme or event idea gets adopted, it must be within everyone’s bandwidth.

If it’s not, you’ll either have to bring in more help (hiring a caterer versus staff prepping food, for example), find a different way to pull it off, or move on to another idea.

3. Develop your social-media strategy

Small Business Saturday gives you a chance to educate customers about your store and all things wedding related while really helping them understand the importance of keeping dollars local and supporting small business.

One of the best places to do this is on your social-media platforms, where you can share general education around the economic, charitable and contributory impact of small business in your region; spotlight the value your store and its employees bring to the community; promote your “giveback factor,” or the various ways your business has gifted to nonprofits and other goodwill causes in its backyard; and your unique value proposition – or what sets you apart from chains and mega-stores today.

The goal?

Customers feeling like when they buy from you, they’re supporting something far bigger than just a store – they are contributing to a better world.

4. Figure out your freebies

Will you have complimentary food that day? Veils included at no charge with every gown purchase? Free facials or photo ops? Goodie bags or pricier giveaways?

It’s time to start planning for whatever those customer incentives or tokens of appreciation might be.

Write up a timeline for researching options, planning with any key partners, ordering and marketing your incentive. Plan for freebie prep that might be involved (stuffing bags, creating a display table, etc.), setup and follow-up.

For example, if raffling off a honeymoon giveaway, you’ll need specific instructions for the bride on what will happen and when. You must also follow up and make sure she’s received all the details and the reservations are set up. You’ll also need to get pictures/video of the lucky couple on their giveaway trip, so you can promote via social media at the very least.

5. Tackle entertainment early on

As Small Business Saturday falls over a holiday weekend, book entertainment well in advance. Researching entertainment ideas, costs and availability is a great task for a staff member.

If your plans don’t include music or other traditional forms of entertainment, what else must be booked instead? For example, if you’re hosting a mini bridal fair, you’ll need to contact vendors and make sure they’re not booked already. Thinking about a trunk show?

Make sure you’ve got that set in stone well in advance because other retailers are likely thinking the same thing!

6. Connect with local media

Find out if your ad reps have any special advertising packages or ideas around how to amplify the importance of small business and help inspire customers to support you. As Saturday appointments need to be booked days in advance, your particular advertising might need to start several weeks prior to Small Business Saturday, so your needs may not fit the traditional advertising mold.

Make sure your ad reps understand this and get creative about how to have the most impact early on so it doesn’t create false expectations for brides/customers about what they can expect from you that day.

The last thing you want is for brides to show up thinking they can try on dresses without an appointment, for example.

7. Finally, don’t forget the invitations

If you’re hosting an event that benefits from official invitations – whether digital or print – don’t overlook this important detail. Get your staff to develop the invite list and choose the invitations. Determine when to send them out, who will handle the mailing, the most effective messaging, and more.

 

More information about Small Business Saturday can be found at:

https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/

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