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November 24, 2021


Prepping for Small Business Saturday

Consumers wait all year for the holiday season’s sales and promotions. And there’s one day small businesses can’t afford to miss out on. You guessed it: Small Business Saturday.

Since 2010, Small Business Saturday has popped up between the chaos of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The American Express campaign invites consumers to prepare for the holiday season by purchasing from small businesses.

Superstore GIF - Black Friday? I'm not afraid of you.

This shopping holiday has become important for SMBs. One-third of small businesses stated that Small Business Saturday is their highest-earning day of the year. And this year, the sales day is more critical than ever - 78% of SMBs said that holiday sales will impact their ability to stay open next year.  

Luckily, consumers do want to shop with SMBs. About 80% of consumers said they want to purchase from small businesses during the holiday season. In fact, 67% prefer shopping with small businesses over larger retailers for holiday purchases. Consumers want to support their local small businesses, as well as independent sellers on commerce sites like Etsy.  

This year, Small Business Saturday falls on November 27th. And with consumers ready and waiting, small businesses can make the most of their special day with a few key strategies.

Promotions don’t just have to be crazy discounts. Ann Cantrell, founder of Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store in Brooklyn, NY, is a Small Business Saturday veteran. She’s participated since the campaign started in 2010. And she uses the day as an opportunity to “[celebrate] the business and the community.”

Rather than simply pushing sales, Ann gives out small freebies. This year, her gifts are small ornaments printed with the words “I Love Local, Brooklyn, NY.”

SMB leaders should also think beyond a single day and leverage Small Business Saturday as an opportunity to gain repeat customers. “Try to give them a reason to come back,” said Trainual CEO Chris Ronzio. (He sure sounds familiar.) 😉

👉 Check out even more strategies.


What’s going on with the US labor shortage?

The COVID pandemic has disrupted the course of all our lives for the past 19 months. And in those early days, the economy stalled because of mandated business closures and stay-at-home orders. 

Because many businesses had to shut down, a lot of people lost their jobs. In fact, about 9.6M Americans lost their jobs in 2020 alone. 

Thankfully, we’re at the point where businesses are re-opening their doors. People feel safe enough to go out in numbers reaching pre-pandemic levels. And consumers are eager to spend their money after going so long without visiting their favorite restaurants and stores.

Now Hiring in Scrabble letters
Photo by amtec_photos / CC BY

But there’s one huge issue: many US industries are dealing with a labor shortage. Meaning, there are a lot of unfilled job openings at businesses across the nation. And additionally, there aren’t enough people to fill those job vacancies.

A lot of different factors are contributing to the job shortage. A good number of employees retired early when COVID first started. Some workers haven’t gone back to work because of COVID related concerns. And many employees have been quitting their jobs as they rethink their careers.

This labor shortage can bring a lot of anxiety for businesses that are looking to hire some help. Thankfully, there are a few strategies businesses can use to entice qualified workers:

  • Invest in work flexibility. Benefits like flexible scheduling and child support can be great motivators for people who have obligations that keep them from returning to work.
  • Prioritize COVID safety. The pandemic is still ongoing and employees are nervous about getting sick and spreading the virus. Set up strict COVID safety protocols and show prospective employees that their health is a top priority.
  • Provide career growth opportunities. A lot of people are rethinking their careers these days. So make sure your business can provide incentives for those employees looking for new opportunities.

👉 Learn more about the labor shortage.


Why some SMBs are pushing promos to EOY

A year ago, you could have ordered a lamp shade, and it would be sitting on your doorstep via drone in a matter of hours (thanks Bezos). But times have changed. 

Some businesses are preparing for shopping holidays like Small Business Saturday. But by now, you might have seen first-hand how pretty much everything is in short supply. And the shortage is going to affect more than our Thanksgiving dinners. Last week, we learned that 22% of SMBs are worried about how supply chain troubles will affect their businesses this holiday season.

National Lampoon GIF - Where's the Tylenol?

Economists believe quite a few bottlenecks are causing the shortages. Mainly, warehouse workers and truck drivers quitting their jobs with no one to replace them. 

In fact, the most recent data from the US Labor Department reports a record 490,000 warehouse job openings. The American Trucking Association estimates a shortage of over 60,000 drivers.

As a result, the supplies you need for that product you’re advertising might not even be in stock for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday sales. Unfortunately, that leaves you unable to keep up with business. Which makes staying competitive during the holiday season even more difficult. 

An organic skincare business in Canada reported spending double on product ingredients to have them shipped in time for Black Friday. But for most small businesses, spending more money to fight supply issues isn’t a realistic solution.

So, how can small business owners combat low stock? Well, some are pushing ad spend and delaying promotions to later in the year

Companies that don’t have the stock to back up holiday promos are choosing to push their promotions to the end of Q4 (when stock is expected to be back up).

That way, customers won’t be disappointed when they learn sales items are already out of stock. And, pushing your sales back could save your business from having to raise your prices after spending extra to get the supplies you need (if that’s even an option).

The biggest issue with this solution is that it’s difficult to predict exactly how far back into the quarter SMBs should push ad spend and promotions. But shifting plans to better manage low stock is better than chugging along the same course and hoping for the best. 

You might have had a solid game plan for your holiday promotions months ago. But now more than ever, you’ve got to roll with the punches and adjust your marketing strategy (if need be) to turn a profit this holiday season.

👉 See why some SMBs are pushing holiday spend.


This week's highlight reel

  • Undo, undo! You can finally edit your tweets - Twitter just released its Twitter Blue subscription service in the US. It includes an undo feature, longer video uploads, and folders for your saved tweets. But you’ll have to pay $2.99/month for the privilege.
  • Sell me this pen. HubSpot just released 8 free templates to help you craft the perfect elevator pitch for your business. And there’s a template for pretty much any scenario to help you sell what you do.
  • RIP Staples Center. The world-famous home of the LA Lakers and Clippers will be renamed Arena on Christmas Day. The new name will stick around for the next 20 years, serving as another sign that cryptocurrency is here to stay.
  • Unicorn alert! Daily Harvest, an online company that ships healthy foods directly to customers, is now valued at $1.1B after their latest round of funding. They plan to use the $77M to test new distribution channels, including a physical location in Chicago.

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