The end of the year – and Small Business Saturday in particular – is one of the most important seasonal events for small businesses of the year. And thankfully for small businesses closing out the decade, sales were up by about 10% in 2019 compared to 2018. That’s according to a survey from American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). But that was a survey, NOT real sales. We waited a month to see if other data became available, and there were a few key insights. Let’s take a look at the winners and losers, shall we?
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Who Were Small Business Saturday’s Winners?
The data is pretty clear. If you have an e-commerce platform, then you likely did better. If you had a mobile-friendly e-commerce platform, you were an even bigger winner.
Smartphone Savvy Retailers
According to Adobe Analytics, which tracks online sales, $3.6 billion of Small Business Saturday purchases were made with smart phones. That’s 18% of the total sales on Small Business Saturday. In fact, that’s up 22% vs. prior year according to the same report.
41.2% of all purchases on Small Business Saturday were made via e-commerce. That’s nearly 4 times the national average. According to the US Census, approximately 12% of all retail purchases are made via e-commerce. So, small businesses with a smartphone optimized e-commerce platform were the clear winners.
What Were the Losers of Small Business Saturday?
Well let’s cut to the chase: pure brick-and-mortar retailers appeared not to have benefited as much. The internet and main street fight continues.
Traditional Mom & Pops
A 10% increase in spending is not that much, especially if nearly ½ of it is accounted for by e-commerce. The growing share of e-commerce sales is likely negatively impacting the traditional mom and pop retailers, who tend to lag in technology adoption.
Key Take-aways for 2020
Consumer awareness is very high
According to the AMEX survey, 70% of all Americans are aware of Small Business Saturday. That’s huge. That’s a higher percentage than the number of American, who are aware of who is playing in the World Series. As a small business, you don’t need to educate them about the event. You just need to remind them that you are a part of it.
Consumers want to buy local
In fact, 3 out of 4 shoppers want to buy locally. The vast majority believe it has a positive impact. According to the aforementioned American Express survey:
…respondents who shopped on Small Business Saturday (96%) agree that shopping at small, independently-owned businesses supports their commitment to making purchases that have a positive social, economic and environmental impact.
The key is to keep them engaged year-round. If you were one of the tech-savvy winners, you have their e-mail. E-mail reminder campaigns are a great way to keep them engaged long after Small Business Saturday has come and gone.
Close the tech-gap
If you haven’t built some e-commerce capabilities, this data should scare you. Today, there are a number of low-cost, easy-to-use, mobile-friendly applications on the market. The trend towards digital is growing. In addition, the ability to reach these consumers after the sale is also a great way to keep them. You will miss out on both if you aren’t in the game.
Digital promotions are likely to be more effective
Given the dramatic shift to e-commerce, especially smartphone purchases, digital, geo-fenced ads and promotions are likely to be more effective in driving and awareness and purchase. Anyone participating in Small Business Saturday in 2020 should definitely include these in their marketing mix.
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