Small Business Saturday falls on November 28th this year, and the 2020 holiday season looks a bit different than in years past. Social distancing continues as a part of protection from the COVID-19 pandemic, which means shopping for the holidays will be different for most everyone. American Express created this shopping holiday in 2010, on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, as a way to encourage support for small businesses who were still struggling in the wake of the 2008 recession. Small Business Saturday became a national holiday in 2011, with business groups, nonprofit trade groups, municipalities and public officials nationwide uniting to form a Small Business Saturday Coalition to further encourage support for consumers to ‘Shop Small’. Small Business Saturday continues to grow, with 2019 being the largest year of sales on record.
Small businesses have created many ingenious methods to encourage customers during this pandemic. Gift card incentive promotions have been popular since the shutdowns in March as a way to boost immediate cash flow. Restaurants that cannot have their dining rooms open to the public have put a new emphasis on streamlining takeout and delivery options. Curbside pickup and delivery apps that make ordering out a smoother process for both customer and business. Retail shops are creating or expanding their online presence with social media and marketing campaigns, so that patrons can shop like they typically would from brick-and-mortar locations. Many shops that do not have an online presence are offering items on Facebook Marketplace or Etsy as an alternative, and welcome customers to contact them to spread the word. Many small businesses are partnering with one another to create special promotions together as an incentive for patrons to visit several locations. Retail locations now offer curbside pickup as an option regularly, much like the restaurant industry, to attract business in these COVID times.
Ozaukee County Small businesses are participating with their local chambers of commerce to promote and encourage support for Small Business Saturday – such as Cedarburg with their Gift Card Extravaganza and Grafton with their Shopping Fun in Grafton Coupon Book.
Supporting businesses on Small Business Saturday – and all year long – helps keep their local economies vital and thriving. It is estimated that 62% of U.S. small businesses say they need consumer spending to return to pre-COVID levels by the end of 2020 to be able to stay in business. Shopping locally creates an impact –on average, for every dollar spent at a small business, 67 cents stays within the local community. Supporting small businesses also aids in keeping more of their staff employed during the pandemic, and most importantly, it helps these small businesses to stay open.