Retailers Prepare for Small Business Saturday


Since 2010, supporters of Small Business Saturday (SBS) have encouraged retailers to turn to local shops and services instead of the big-box retailers who have traditionally dominated Thanksgiving-weekend sales. The promotional day has since gained ground, becoming a widely popular event for holiday shoppers. In 2012, sales on Small Business Saturday totaled $5.5 billion, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

That year, 9 percent of merchants incorporated SBS into their holiday promotions by using paid advertising, according to a survey by NFIB. This year, however, twice as many plan to advertise the holiday through TV, radio or newspaper, indicating that Small Business Saturday is viewed as an increasingly essential initiative during the holiday season.

Promotional efforts will increase this year, with 33 percent of small businesses planning to offer free gifts with purchases. That number is up from 20 percent in 2012. The primary incentive small businesses will use, however, continues to be discounts, with 67 percent saying they will mark down either specific items or boast a storewide sale. Also, 36 percent said they would offer coupons for discounts on future purchases.

Season for extra help

More stores will also be adding employees to help with an anticipated customer rush. The survey revealed 21 percent plan to increase the numbers of employees working on SBS. In the spirit of staying local, almost three-quarters of small businesses said they would make it a point to hire employees from their neighborhood.

Given the remarkable growth of Small Business Saturday since 2010, retailers might take the opportunity to renovate, add new products or increase staff permanently. Those who could benefit from store improvements should consider getting a small business loan from an alternative lender. Because applications are processed quickly, retailers can obtain financing in as little as 24 hours. Consulting the experts at National Funding could make all the difference this holiday season.