Think Big, Shop Small: Small Business Saturday

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The official blog of The National NeedleArts Association - news and notes of the association, our members and our industry.

By TNNA Blog posted 11-21-2019 00:00



Think Big, Shop Small

By: TNNA Editor

Saturday, November 30 marks the 10th Annual Small Business Saturday event from American Express®. If you’ve never participated, now’s the time! Save the date and celebrate the small businesses in your area ... or make sure your business welcomes new and old customers in a unique way. Shop Small® is designed to help local retailers flourish amid the major deals from large chains. Every time a customer makes the decision to purchase from a local store, including local yarn stores (LYS), they make the choice to be part of making a big impact for small businesses everywhere. According to American Express, “For every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S., approximately 67 cents stays in the local community.” If you're one of our retail members, here are some tips to help you get ready for the big day so you can watch that change add up.

Tell Your Story In-Person and Online

While small businesses may have small budgets, that doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing sales or customers. Small businesses offer the kind of welcoming and unique atmosphere that customers don’t often see from larger, corporate chains. Simply sharing your retail store's story in a relatable way can emphasize the passion you have for your business ... and that story is often more than enough to influence potential customers.

It’s up to you to make your face known! But how? Here are some tips from American Express:

  • Social media is your friend. Leading up the event, remind people why Small Business Saturday is important and why they should support you! During the day’s events, create a section of your store that is Instagram-worthy. Having a selfie station or materials that attract the eye of shoppers can be a great way to circulate your offers and bring attention to your store. Not only that, but livestreaming events or posting as the day goes along can generate excitement (and even visits!).
  • Customers want a warm, friendly face to interact with when they step inside a store, and providing customer interactions that are genuine will always bring loyal customers back. Additionally, make sure employees are spreading the message you want your business to send. Establish goals you want to achieve before the day starts, and then ensure you’re all working together to reach them.
  • American Express offers a Shop Small Studio where you can create marketing materials such as posters, social media banners, email templates and more that you can share! A targeted email strategy leading up to Small Business Saturday can go a long way. Plus, who doesn’t love free marketing tools?!
  • Use the hashtags #SmallBizSat, #ShopSmall and #SmallBusinessSaturday in your posts to both help you engage in the larger  community as well as to be seen by potential new customers.
  • Hold a social media contest: it's another great way to promote your store and lure new customers.


  • This one's easy: Offer a discount! That could mean a discount on all items in your store, a free gift with purchase or a BOGO deal.
  • Make treats for shoppers — it's a great way to get someone to step through the door whether it's cookies, cupcakes, beverages or something else. (Free food? Yes, please!) This is a small step to show holiday shoppers that you care.
  • Collaborate with local influencers so they can help spread the word, and draw in their followers.

Make Your Holiday Spirit Known

Let’s not forget that it’s the most wonderful time of the year, people! What better way to market your store for Small Business Saturday than by spreading holiday cheer — and holiday offers! This event is right in the middle of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so shoppers can capitalize on the biggest deals weekend of the year.

Local retailers usually have supplies that shoppers won't see everywhere. Promoting gift-giving that's unique makes the shopping experience (and the gifts) all the more special. So whip out your tinsel and get those holiday jams turned up! Other ways to hone in on the holiday season can be:

  • Offer a gift-wrapping station.
  • Let customers know about other holiday offers you may be having later on, such as an in-store holiday party, event or a different day of deals.
  • Offer holiday patterns or designs customers cannot get anywhere else.
  • Give them the holiday hours they want! Opening your store an hour earlier — or staying open a little later — can create a surge in sales since it will allow you to welcome in more shoppers who might be trying to hit all the local stops on odd schedules.
  • Offer gift cards. Sometimes the best gift to give is the ability to have someone new come in and shop for themselves!

Small Business Saturday is truly the gift that keeps on giving. People want to support local stores, so ensuring you are promoting your store and gearing up for the big day will go a long way.