Host A Successful Small Business Saturday with These Helpful Tips

Small Business Saturday is a government recognized day dedicated to supporting the local businesses that help create jobs, boost the economy, and preserve neighborhoods. Launching in 2010, the United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution of support for Small Business Saturday, and since then over 95 million customers have been documented supporting and buying from local businesses on Small Business Saturday. 

Utilizing the venue that Small Business Day provides, the American Booksellers Association put together began the Indies First campaign in 2013. Indies First is a national campaign of activities and events in support of independent bookstores that takes place on Small Business Saturday which takes place this year on Saturday, November 25, 2017. Highlighting local author signings along with other holiday events and frequent shopper discounts, Indie's First participants of 2016 reported a 14 percent increase in year to date sales. 

Bookstores nationwide are taking part in the campaign with local author/artist bananzas, book signings, secret password discounts, and raffles. To better prepare you for the upcoming campaign, check out our top five tips for hosting a successful Small Business Saturday. 

1. Create a Strategy

There are a wide variety of central points any independent bookstore can focus on during their Small Business Saturday. From achieving a higher rate of foot traffic to increasing focus on a certain genre of books, deciding what your focus and creating a strategy around that focus is the first step to hosting a successful Small Business Saturday. With graphic novels at the forefront of sales increases over the last five years, capitalize on the popularity by pushing your graphic novel stock through table space, front-face shelving, and retailer tools provided by our publishers (see below). Once you've identfied your goal, it is important to detail how you will measure, what your message is, what channels you will use to communicate, and how you will execute your message. 

2. Get the Word Out

Start now! In order to get customers into your doors, they have to know they are open and what you are offering. Take advantage of social media, put up flyers at your local library, hand out marketing postcards with every purchase, and dedicate window space to promoting your event. To reach as many customers as possible before the event, don't forget to start early!

3. Cross-promote with Other Businesses

Partner up with the businesses around you to create a unique customer-friendly environment for the people visiting your area on Small Business Saturday. Prepare coupons for one another's stores such as 50% off an item at your partner's store if a customer purchases over a certain amount of product at your store. Use all of your partnering businesses to reach out to your clientele to make sure they know about this huge event. Independent bookstores are the center of community in most towns, so be sure to work with that community to increase your foot-traffic.

4. Spruce Up Your Store

Whether you use holiday decorations or invest in quality window clings, be sure your store stands out to customers. Keep your doors open, and consider serving small treats such as cookies or wrapped candies while customers shop around your store. 

5. Giveaways

Everyone loves a good giveaway, and Small Business Saturday is the perfect event to take advantage of giveaways. Whether it is a free book for every 100th customer or coupon packages for people who spend a certain amount of money, be sure to advertise your unique giveaways throughout the store and your windows to attract foot-traffic. Below are a few of our favorite graphic novel giveaways for events.

  • Giveaway Bingo: Pass out bingo cards at the door with different genres as the tile spaces. Customers get a stamp on every genre they buy, and customers who get a bingo will receive a 10% discount on their next purchase at your store after Small Business Saturday.
  • Stock pile Giveaway: Interested in lowering some of your stock on certain titles to make room for new ones? Giveaway these titles to customers who spend over a certain amount of money in one purchase - we recommend starting between a minimum purchase of $50-$75 for these types of giveaways.
  • Blind Book Giveaway: Wrap up books in wrapping paper for brown bag paper, and allow customers to pick these blind books as they reach the checkout counter. You can also use this as a unique book buying campaign in your store, marking the books with their price on the outer wrapping with the genre of the book listed to give your customers a surprise book that they might not have normally picked up.

Small Business Saturday is a nationwide event that encourages community and local shopping. Don't forget to be staffed appropriately for your event, and to capitalize on up-selling through strategically placed merchandise near the check out counter and on your shelves. And be sure to send us your best Small Business Saturday pictures!


Need graphic novel promotional tools for your shelves, social media marketing, or flyers? Check out our graphic novel retailer tool kit here.

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