What is Small Business Saturday?


You’ll have heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with all their special deals and offers (sometimes not as special as you think). But have you heard of Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday has been in the UK since 2013. Like its bigger, brasher brothers, it’s been imported from the US, but offers consumers a much more worthwhile day to splash their cash.

Falling on the first Saturday of December, Small Business Saturday encourages people to spend their money in independent, local businesses rather than big high street chains.

What can we expect on Small Business Saturday?

Forget being trampled in the TV aisle of a department store, Small Business Saturday is an altogether more dignified, sedate affair. It’s still about bagging a bargain, but doing some good at the same time. It wants us all to celebrate small businesses across the country and make a difference.

And those businesses want to be celebrated. To make it easier for consumers to get involved, there are always lots of cut-price deals and promotions to tempt consumers away from big-name retailers.

The special offers can be found at every turn. Whether customers are on the high street in physical stores or on the sofa browsing online, independent retailers go all out to get consumers on board.
A small clothing store

How successful is Small Business Saturday?

Research commissioned by American Express (the company that helped establish the event) reveals that on Small Business Saturday last year, SMEs earned an additional £812 million thanks to the initiative. This figure is up from £748 million in 2017.

Last year, nine out of 10 of the UK’s local councils supported the initiative, with around two-thirds of consumers aware of the day saying they had spent more money than usual with small businesses as a result.

This year’s Small Business Saturday has seen similar success. A record 17.6 million people turned up to support local businesses on 7th December 2019.

Speaking about this, Small Business Saturday director Michelle Ovens said: “In its seventh year, Small Business Saturday has once again captured the hearts and minds of the nation, with record numbers turning out in support of Britain’s small businesses.”

She continued: “With a net growth of 200,000 small businesses across the UK since 2018, there are more heroes than ever before to celebrate for the work they do in their communities and local economies.

“This year we have been telling people to go out and find their local hero, and people have voted with their feet, with over four million more people choosing to shop small on Small Business Saturday than in 2018.”

How to make Small Business Saturday a success for your business

Small Business Saturday is a great way to promote your small business, attract more customers and generate more sales. However, the key is knowing how best to stand out from the crowd and grab the attention of those busy shoppers.

Here are a few ideas for how you can make Small Business Saturday a success for your business.

1 Think about signage

Let your customers know that Small Business Saturday is a thing – and that it’s happening at your business. Give people a few weeks’ notice and the chance to get excited about the event. Signage doesn’t just refer to posters in a shop window, it can also mean banners on your website’s homepage and a dedicated landing page giving details of offers and promotions.

2 Create an email marketing campaign

Email is a great way to stay in touch with your customers – and the perfect way to let them know about your Small Business Saturday deals. Email gives you the chance to send customers an invitation direct to their inboxes. Let customers know you appreciate their loyalty and create a sense of urgency: ‘don’t miss out’ and ‘one day only’ are good phrases to get the message across.

3 Make the most of social media

Your customers are on social media – often for a significant proportion of their day. According to data from Statista, the UK was home to 45 million social media users in 2019, 39 million of those classed as active users. By creating and sharing posts about Small Business Saturday on social media platforms you are making sure your business appears where your customers are looking. To widen your reach, be sure to use relevant hashtags such as #SmallBusinessSaturday and #ShopLocal.
A woman using a laptop at a desk

4 Include a giveaway in your offer

Who doesn’t love free stuff? By running a giveaway (think prizes or free gifts with purchases) you are giving customers an extra incentive to buy something from you on that particular day. Ask users to share a post in order to be entered into a free prize draw, offer a free gift to the first 30 customers to make an in-store purchase, or offer free delivery on online purchases. Small things can do a lot to boost sales.

5 Share your story

Customers love a narrative. They want to know about the people behind the business and make a connection with them. Sharing your story (how you started the business and why) helps you build those meaningful relationships with customers. It can help customers get to know the person behind the company and show they why they should support your company.

The future for small businesses

There is the sense that the UK’s high street needs every bit of help it can get right now. According to data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and retail analytics company Springboard, the number of people visiting our high streets is in major decline – falling 10% in seven years.

However, there is still some hope. Research suggests that shoppers are looking for experiences and opportunities to buy things they cannot get online and the more small businesses that get involved, the better.

Following the general election, retailers are now watching the government’s next moves. It promised to reduce the rates burden by £320 million in the next financial year by extending a retail discount for small businesses from 33% to 50%.

Do you run a small business? Are you looking for ways to secure a better future? As well as getting involved in initiatives such as Small Business Saturday, you’ll also need tailored commercial insurance for your business.

At Insurance Choice, we offer small businesses commercial insurance specific to their needs. Find out more and get a quote today.