RMS is a big fan of small business. In fact, our entire philosophy is centered around keeping it local and working together to beat out competition from big box stores. That’s why you won't catch us fighting the crowds on Black Friday. The Saturday following Black Friday, however, is another matter. That’s because the day after Black Friday is officially designated as Small Business Saturday; an event meant to promote and encourage holiday shopping at local, independent businesses. (I think it might be our favorite day of the year.)
Originally launched in 2010 by American Express, Small Business Saturday is a nationwide event that gains support and momentum every year. Participating in Small Business Saturday can open the door to a lot of good things for your pharmacy. So, if you haven't participated before, we encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity this year. Even a small effort can make a big difference! Here are some tips to get the most out of the day.
Despite the fact that Small Business Saturday is a growing trend, it still falls in the shadow of Black Friday. Not everyone knows about it or understands the value of supporting their local businesses. Even though your pharmacy may have an amazing gift department, many customers may not think of your store as a destination for purchasing holiday gifts. So, you'll have to do a little work to remind people that your pharmacy is an awesome place to shop for the holidays and promote Small Business Saturday as an event to attend in your store. In addition to using the Shop Small promotional materials (which can be found here), you should add information about the event to your website and post it on your social accounts. Basically, talk about Small Business Saturday anywhere you have an outlet to do so. You can even use your pharmacy POS system to promote the event by changing the footer text on your receipt to invite customers to shop.
Black Friday is famous for its huge discounts. It's why some stores have lines around the building hours before they even open. But independent business isn't like that. Slashed prices and flashy giveaways just cut into margins that a lot of stores can't afford. That being said, you can still do something special for customers that shop on Small Business Saturday. Offer special promotions to members of your customer loyalty program and print coupons on your receipts for future use to drive return business. Even something as simple as free coffee and cookies while customers shop can make an impression. It doesn't take much to show shoppers how much you appreciate their patronage during the holiday season.
Talk up your gift cards.
Gift cards are one of the hottest items to purchase during the holidays, especially for last minute or impulse items. Did you know that the typical gift card user spends on average 20% more than the gift card value? Think about what that would mean to your bottom line!
If you ever visit downtown Olympia, WA (near our headquarters), you’ll find nothing but independent businesses as you walk along the main streets. (Seriously, even the grocery store is an independent chain.) It’s wonderful to be surrounded by businesses that are all completely unique. What’s more, you’ll find that the businesses support each other. The boutique will have advertisements for the shoe store. Restaurants use window space to support the local theaters and everywhere you go there are bulletin boards with ads for other local businesses. If you can coordinate with other local businesses in your immediate vicinity to promote and participate in Small Business Saturday, you’ll all benefit.
Remember, customers this time of year are looking for ways to spend their hard-earned money on gifts. Give them an opportunity to patronize your store and impress upon them not only your unique merchandise selection, but your excellent customer service. Who knows, maybe you’ll gain a few customers that otherwise wouldn’t even have stepped foot in your store!