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How to Make Small Business Saturday a Big Success with Online Shoppers

Written by: Logiwa Marketing
Originally published on October 10, 2023, Updated on April 24, 2024
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In recent years, Small Business Saturday has become more than just a shopping day; it’s a movement. Falling between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this day celebrates and supports the impact of small businesses on local economies. It also gives retailers, online merchants and fulfillment operations the chance to grow.

From customer-focused initiatives to fulfillment technology, let’s discuss what Small Business Saturday is all about, what you can expect in 2023 and how best to prepare.

Key Takeaways

  • Small Business Saturday, which takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving, celebrates small businesses’ contributions to local communities and economies by encouraging consumer support during the holiday season.
  • The use of online platforms, custom-built websites, social media channels and other digital channels have contributed to the growth of Small Business Saturday by connecting small businesses with more consumers.
  • Retailers, online merchants and 3PLs can prepare by planning ahead, optimizing inventory levels and executing a proactive, personal approach to fulfillment.
  • Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) play a pivotal role in supporting small businesses during events like Small Business Saturday and other peak season holidays.
  • A WMS ensures efficient inventory levels, accurate order management and streamlined shipping processes, resulting in greater customer satisfaction and fulfillment success.

What is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday was first observed in 2010 as a day dedicated to recognizing small businesses and celebrating their contributions to local communities and economies. Originally conceived by American Express, the initiative aimed to promote the unique offerings of small businesses and rally support for shopping locally during the holiday season.

Held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in the United States, the day encourages shoppers to buy from small and local businesses, whether they be online and in-store operations to help foster a sense of community, promote economic growth, and help small business owners thrive amid a landscape dominated by corporate giants.

How Small Business Saturday Has Changed

Small businesses faced unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, with lockdowns and restrictions affecting their ability to operate. As a result, small businesses adapted to include services like curbside pickup and delivery, virtual shopping experiences and accessibility through digital channels. These changes, in addition to increased community support, helped ensure economic recovery and had a permanent effect on Small Business Saturday.

The rise of ecommerce has also contributed to the growth of Small Business Saturday, leading many small businesses to embrace online platforms and encourage consumers to shop using custom-built websites. Paired with social media channels, multichannel approaches have come to play a pivotal role in connecting small businesses directly to their customers. Regardless of location, consumers can now interact with and support small businesses from anywhere on Small Business Saturday.

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When is Small Business Saturday 2023?

As we approach Small Business Saturday (which falls on November 25, 2023), anticipation is high for a record-breaking year full of exciting deals, exclusive discounts and unique offerings across various sectors. With the rise of ecommerce, online platforms and social media will play a significant role in connecting buyers with sellers, allowing customers to discover and support small businesses from the comfort of their homes.

In fact, according to a Ware2Go consumer survey, as much as 52 percent of consumers actively plan to participate in Small Business Saturday, and 44 percent plan to make their purchases online.

How Retailers and Online Merchants Can Prepare

For retailers and online merchants, early preparation is key to maximizing Small Business Saturday sales. From deciding where you will promote your business and running early sales to tailoring user-experience to be as enticing as possible – you will want to dedicate resources to getting the most out of this day.

Here are a few strategies to consider:

  • Get on Consumers’ Radars: Take advantage of online Small Business listings and maps, such as the American Express Shop Small Map, if you have a physical location. This helps consumers looking to participate in Small Business Saturday discover your brand or online shop.
  • Create Special Offers: Develop enticing discounts, bundles, or vouchers to attract customers on the big day. Personalized offers can make your small business stand out amidst the sea of seasonal promotions.
  • Optimize Online Presence: Ensure your website is user-friendly, mobile-responsive, and showcases your products or services effectively. Utilize social media platforms to create buzz, share behind-the-scenes content and engage with potential customers.
  • Enhance Customer Service: Provide excellent customer service by promptly responding to inquiries, offering personalized recommendations and ensuring a smooth purchasing and fulfillment process.
  • Stock Up: Analyze past sales data to predict popular items, and stock up on inventory items to avoid shortages. Proactive collaboration with suppliers and efficient inventory management will ensure you meet demand without overstocking.

How 3PLs Supporting Small Businesses Can Prepare

Third-party fulfillment operations play a crucial role in the success of Small Business Saturday. Timely and accurate order fulfillment enhances customer satisfaction and encourages repeat business. If you oversee a 3PL warehouse or fulfillment network supporting small businesses, here are some ways you can prepare:

  • Optimize Inventory: As with other peak season holidays, it is important to secure the proper inventory levels to prevent stockouts, overstock and other logistical disruptions that delay fulfillment. Use BI tools to forecast demand or examine the results of previous years to help maximize inventory levels.
  • Streamline Processes: Review and optimize fulfillment workflows to handle increased order volumes efficiently, especially for multichannel operations. Automate repetitive tasks and invest in technology that improves accuracy and speed around processing online orders.
  • Staff Training: Ensure facility staff is well-trained to handle increased order volumes and changes/value-added services requested for Small Business Saturday initiatives. Effective training can reduce errors, improve productivity and enhance the overall results of deliveries and customer experience.
  • Collaborate with Small Businesses: Nurture your partnerships with small business clients by offering tailored fulfillment services and keeping communication channels open. Understand their unique needs and work closely to meet customer expectations seamlessly.

Technology’s Role in Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is more than just a day of shopping; it’s an opportunity to strengthen communities and empower entrepreneurs. Whether you are a retailer gearing up for increased sales or a fulfillment center supporting small businesses, your role is pivotal in making Small Business Saturday 2023 a success.

Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) play a pivotal role in supporting small businesses during events like Small Business Saturday and other peak season holidays. By automating and optimizing various warehouse operations, systems like Logiwa WMS help ensure efficient inventory management, accurate order fulfillment and streamlined shipping processes.

The real-time data insights available using a WMS help businesses anticipate demand and make informed decisions that result in timely deliveries, customer satisfaction and competitive sales during high-demand periods. Additionally, a WMS helps small businesses minimize errors in order processing, reduce operational costs and enhance overall productivity, allowing them to focus on delivering exceptional products and services to their customers.

To learn how competitive, scalable warehouse management systems (WMS) help support small- to medium- sized businesses, check out Logiwa’s blog, “Which WMS Features for SMBs are Needed Most?”

Discover how Logiwa’s WMS can help your business—schedule free demo today.

FAQs Related to Small Business Saturday

When is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday is held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in the United States. This year, Small Business Saturday falls on November 25, 2023.

Can online businesses participate in Small Business Saturday?

Yes. Small Business Saturday is not limited to brick-and-mortar stores. Online businesses can create promotions, engage with customers on social media, and offer special deals to participate fully.

How can fulfillment centers support small businesses during Small Business Saturday?

Fulfillment centers can support small businesses by offering tailored services such as order processing, packaging, and shipping. By efficiently handling increased order volumes, fulfillment centers enable small businesses to focus on providing excellent products and services to their customers.

What role do fulfillment operations play in ensuring a smooth Small Business Saturday experience for shoppers?

Fulfillment operations play a vital role in ensuring a seamless Small Business Saturday experience for shoppers. They are responsible for accurately picking, packing, and delivering orders on time. By fulfilling orders promptly and accurately, fulfillment centers enhance customer satisfaction and contribute to the overall success of the event.

How can fulfillment centers prepare for the high demand typically experienced on Small Business Saturday?

Fulfillment centers can prepare for the high demand by optimizing their processes, training staff, and implementing efficient technologies. Forecasting demand, hiring additional staff temporarily, and collaborating closely with small businesses are essential steps. By being proactive and well-prepared, fulfillment centers can handle the surge in orders effectively.

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