Dealer Outlook

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Is Small Business Saturday right for you?

Who wouldn’t like a piece of the $16.2 billion-plus expected to be spent on this year’s Small Business Saturday, which occurs on Nov. 26?

It’s no small promotion anymore. Some 95 million Americans shopped on Small Business Saturday last year, making it a very successful and lucrative retailing day strategically positioned between Black Friday and Cyber Monday during Thanksgiving weekend. That’s according to American Express, which created the event in 2010.

While Small Business Saturday promotional materials are made available to small businesses having a direct relationship with American Express, there’s no question Small Business Saturday has captured a nationwide recognition that encourages consumers to shop and support small local businesses.

But Small Business Saturday is just 25 days from today, which means if you’re going to cash in, you can’t delay taking some action now. Here, then, are some ideas to get you going:

  • Recognizing that it’s really aimed at holiday consumer spending, now is the time to get your dealership team together for some creative ideas and establish a plan. For example, decide if you’ll be offering some genuine special prices on select accessories like clothing, tubes, skis, gift cards or other suggested Christmas gifts. Offer free refreshments; or special presentations by factory experts on some equipment; or a free gift or gift wrapping on Small Business Saturday.
  • Get signs up immediately inside and on store windows announcing your Small Business Saturday event. Fire up your email and social media tools to strategically declare your participation in Small Business Saturday. Highlight some good teasers. Perhaps make it an open-house day with family fun and refreshments for all your customers. They might thank you for providing refuge from the local mall zoo.
  • Door prizes and/or giveaways are always a draw. Include something for the kids, too. Since we’re really talking Christmas holiday shopping here, decorate the showroom or some boats for Christmas with, say, big red ribbons or small lighted Christmas trees on the bows.
  • Determine and aim at the primary interests of your customer base. For example, if watersports are big with your customers, hold a live introduction/demo on the hottest new skis, tubes or related gear. If fishing’s your thing, host a fishing program(s) for your anglers and team up with a local tackle store to present the newest fishing gear.
  • Because Small Business Saturday is primarily built on the Christmas giving idea, incorporating another special reason for customers and prospects to visit can add extra motivation for many customers. For example, on Small Business Saturday, customers can be encouraged to bring in, say, cans of food to be given to the local food bank; or bring a child’s toy for a local program like “Toys for Tots.” Or perhaps pledging a portion of every sale on Small Business Saturday to a local recognized charity, the Wounded Worrier Project, a local ASPCA, or similar well-known organization will make for a more compelling reason to shop with you on Small Business Saturday. Indeed, such charitable-giving promotions can make your event more memorable for customers and, experts say, can also positively impact your staff.
  • If your dealership closes on Black Friday, as has happening lately to allow employees time with family, make sure you advertise that in your materials. Americans are increasingly supporting businesses that take a family-minded approach to their workers, with dozens of news stories detailing businesses that allow employees the day off — these stories have been widely circulated on social media as shoppers look to advocate for these businesses.

It certainly looks like it will be a “season to be jolly” — and make money. With high consumer confidence, low unemployment rates and low gas prices, an increase in consumer holiday spending seems likely. So now’s the time to act to grab a share of the holiday pie.

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