With Christmas just a few weeks away and bank balances still fresh from payday, the first weekend in December is one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. This year, small businesses could see an even bigger rise in sales as the UK celebrates its first Small Business Saturday.
This Saturday, 7th December, small businesses across the country will mark the inaugural event, hoping to encourage shoppers to spend some of their hard-earned money with independent shops.
Small Business Saturday has been celebrated in America since 2010, and encourages sales and promotions in a similar way to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The launch of the UK event has been heavily backed by the government, specifically Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Chuka Umunna.
Small Business Saturday has the potential to give small businesses across the country a sustainable boost in profits. In the U.S. last year, the event brought $5.5 (£3.5) billion in sales to small businesses, and also led to an increase in long-term custom.
As well as the benefits for each business owner, shopping in independent stores also has a positive effect on the local economy. For every £1 spent in locally-owned businesses, around 50-70p goes back into the local economy, compared to as little as 5p for large retailers or non-local online shops.
It’s encouraging to see that national and local government departments have shown so much support for bringing Small Business Saturday to the UK. As well as backing from the government’s business departments, 40 local councils have agreed to offer free parking for the day. This should further encourage shoppers away from bigger shops and towards smaller shops which may be slightly further from town centres.
It’s not too late to get involved. There’s still time to download a digital marketing pack from the Small Business Saturday website in time for this weekend. The pack includes printable posters and and a guide to promoting your business on Facebook and Twitter during the event.
There’s still time to run a promotion to help entice shoppers — consider running an offer or competition to those that buy from you this weekend.
And of course you can support other small businesses by shopping with them this weekend and beyond.
If we all get involved this Small Business Saturday we can make more people aware of the hardworking businesses right on their doorstep, and hopefully help to boost sales and build relationships that will benefits small businesses all year round.