Small Business Saturday 2020 Is a Big Deal All Year Long

woman wearing a mask and holding an open sign to open up her business for the day

Small Business Saturday 2020 Is a Big Deal All Year Long


Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday (SBS) is a staple in the post-Thanksgiving shopping weekend. But for Small Business Saturday 2020, things may look a little different.

For businesses nationwide, SBS is huge. Find out what it is, who can participate, reasons to hop on board the bandwagon, and how to do it. And, learn how to keep things safe for SBS 2020.

Ready, set, read up.

What is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday is a national shopping day that takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It originated in 2010 by American Express and celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2019. This shopping day encourages consumers to Shop Small® and support their local communities.

Along with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, SBS kickstarts the holiday shopping season. Businesses typically offer Small Business Saturday sales and other incentives to get customers through the door and boost sales.

When is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday 2020 takes place on November 28. Don’t wait until the morning of November 28 to decide you’re going to participate. Promote your business’s participation beforehand.

Small Business Saturday 2020 date (November 28) with house illustrations

Who can participate?

Small Business Saturday was created for small businesses. Of course, small businesses need to participate for the shopping holiday to exist. But, small companies aren’t the only entities that can participate.

Just take a look at this list of possible SBS participants:

  • Small businesses
  • Consumers
  • Communities
  • Corporations
  • Government representatives

The beauty of Small Business Saturday is that anyone can get involved. Organizations can apply to be “Neighborhood Champions.”

Neighborhood Champions promote the day to get small businesses and consumers involved. They are public supporters of the shopping day and promote it on platforms like social media, blogs, and around town, as well as organize community events.

Attention consumers! Don’t own a business? Don’t have time to be a Neighborhood Champion? You can still get involved. Focus on buying from your local small businesses on Small Business Saturday 2020.

Small Business Saturday at-a-glance

Here are some fast facts about the national shopping holiday according to its creator, American Express:

  • Small Business Saturday started in 2010
  • In 2011, the Senate passed a resolution supporting the day
  • There were 1,400 Neighborhood Champions in 2013. In 2018, there were 7,500
  • U.S. consumers spent approximately $19.6 billion on Small Business Saturday 2019

Why you should get involved in SBS

You put your heart and soul into setting up your small business. Although 2020 has brought a number of challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, you’ve adapted. With the holidays approaching, it can be easy to stress about what effect COVID-19 could have on your business’s bottom line.

If you want to reap some of the benefits of Small Business Saturday, consider participating. Here are a few reasons why you may decide to get involved in SBS.

1. Build brand awareness

Building brand awareness is key to running a business customers trust. Without brand awareness, customers may not be able to identify your business. Regardless of whether you’re a new small business or have been around for years, use Small Business Saturday to build brand awareness.

Millions of consumers are familiar with Small Business Saturday. In fact, Small Business Saturday’s Facebook page alone has over three million likes.

When you piggyback on American Express’s SBS national advertising campaigns, you can build brand awareness for your business and add credibility to your name.

2. Ramp up sales numbers

For most companies, meeting sales projections is a big deal. And if COVID-19 impacted your sales, you might be looking for ways to boost it before year end.

Small Business Saturday can help your small company ramp up sales. Because it is a prime shopping day, customers might be apt to spend more.

To optimize sales, consider expanding the types of payments you accept. You may begin accepting credit card payments as well as mobile payments to avoid missing out on sales.

Many consumers shop exclusively with credit cards or with a mobile wallet, and failing to accept these payment methods could cost you business.

3. Show your community you’re there for the long haul

Being an active member of your community is a necessary part of building your small business reputation.

This Small Business Saturday, show your community what your business is made of. Let them know that you intend on making your business a permanent part of the area. And, remind them that their patronage doesn’t go unnoticed.

Getting involved in your locality lets you form connections with other organizations or members of your community. And, it can improve consumer loyalty and encourage people to rally around your small business.

4. Set your business apart

Use Small Business Saturday to highlight your business’s uniqueness. You can hone in on the things that separate you from your competition by drawing attention to your business’s originality.

When customers enter your small business, talk to them about your company’s history. Connect your customers with your brand’s story to set your business apart.

Unlike busy corporations, you can connect with customers, provide a memorable and personalized shopping experience, set aside time to answer questions, and quickly solve problems.

Small Business Saturday isn’t your chance to compete with the huge deals national chains can offer. It’s your chance to show customers why potentially spending a little more on quality and originality is worth it.

5. Improve future marketing efforts

Small Business Saturday is also a great way to build your customer list and therefore expand your future marketing efforts.

When new customers come into your business, grab their contact information. Ask customers for their emails, names, and phone numbers. And, encourage them to connect with your small business on social media. Touch base with your new contacts later on through email marketing.

Use Small Business Saturday as an opportunity to get to know new customers. Pay attention to customers’ likes and dislikes by asking questions and tracking their shopping history. That way, you can tailor future marketing efforts.

How to participate in Small Business Saturday 2020

Do the above benefits sound good to you? If you’re determined to participate in Small Business Saturday, here’s how to do it.

1. Keep your business open on November 28—or take things online

This one is a given—if you own a brick and mortar store, you need to stay open to participate in Small Business Saturday. But for some, staying open can be tricky during this holiday weekend.

If you do have November 28 free and can stay open, then you’re one step closer to participating in the national shopping day…

…Now, how about your employees?

Depending on your business, you may not have enough manpower to keep things running smoothly if you’re the only one able to work. Make sure employees know that your business will be open on November 28 ahead of time to avoid potential conflicts.

You may receive multiple vacation requests from employees asking to take off on SBS. Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to accept every request. To manage vacation requests fairly, you need to:

  • Determine how many employees you need to stay open
  • Create a time-off request procedure (with deadlines)
  • Decide how you’ll prioritize multiple requests (e.g., first-come, first-served)

To encourage employees to come in to work, consider offering overtime pay or double-time pay for all hours worked on Small Business Saturday.

Going online

There are a number of stores (e.g., Best Buy, Walmart, Target) that are closing down on Thanksgiving this year in honor of the pandemic.

You may also consider keeping your doors closed on Small Business Saturday to give employees (and yourself) a break. But if you still want to make sales, you can get things ready for a digital Small Business Saturday. You might consider using an E-commerce platform or joining an online marketplace.

2. Follow health and safety guidelines

Small Business Saturday 2020 requires businesses and employees to pay attention to health and safety guidelines.

Unlike in years past, customers can’t be crowding into storefronts. Things may look a little different, but you can still have a successful SBS when following health and safety guidelines. Pay attention to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on keeping your workplace safe.

To adapt your business for SBS 2020, you might:

  • Require masks
  • Require social distancing
  • Set store limits
  • Install plexiglass
  • Map out walking paths

3. Come up with a marketing campaign that conquers

If you’re planning on participating in Small Business Saturday, shout it from the mountaintops.

Email people on your current customer list that you’ll be open and ready for business on Small Business Saturday. Post about it on your small business blog. Hang up signs about SBS around your storefront. Tell customers to come back on November 28 at the point of sale.

Leverage social media marketing by posting to your audience that you will be participating in Small Business Saturday. Use targeted hashtags, like #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat, in your social media posts.

Pro tip: Use Amex’s (free) materials for social distancing

American Express has free in-store signage and social posts for social distancing guidelines. Here are some examples of what’s available:

  • “Please wait here” signs
  • Safety guidelines signs
  • Takeout and delivery signs
  • Operating hours signs

You can download or print these materials to prepare your customers for a socially distant Small Business Saturday.

4. Think about special deals you can offer

To encourage consumer spending on SBS, offer promotions to get customers through your doors.

First, decide what kind of promotions and incentives you want to offer customers. Come up with some creative Small Business Saturday ideas to set yourself apart from every other day.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Buy one, get one (free or half off)
  • Discounts (e.g., 25% off)
  • Bundles (e.g., get a free X when you buy Y)
  • Extra loyalty rewards (e.g., double points when you shop on SBS)
  • Free products (e.g., customized mask for stopping in)
  • Complimentary food or beverages (e.g., free hot chocolate)
  • Exclusive products or services that are only available on Small
  • Business Saturday

In addition to bringing in more money, use Small Business Saturday deals to help you get rid of old inventory. You can mark down items at the end of their product life cycle for the day. Or, you can include a free, outdated product as a gift when customers purchase on SBS.

Once you come up with incentives to offer on Small Business Saturday, promote them in your marketing efforts.

5. Partner with local businesses and give back

This year, you don’t have to go it alone. Small Business Saturday is a community-centric day, so make sure to join forces with other small businesses in your locality.

Partnering with other businesses helps you promote your involvement, boost sales, and increase brand awareness. And, joining forces with another small business could be the start of a long and mutually beneficial affiliation.

Get involved with local organizations. Attend events within your community that build awareness and generate attention. And, you can give back to your community with donations or volunteer help.

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