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Forget Black Friday: SHOP Local Saturday is your chance to shine

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SHOP Local Saturday encourages small businesses to capitalize on their local roots, thus attracting customers who share those values.

2. Focus on your own commitment to going local.

The whole concept of shopping small is based on staying local as customers typically prefer to keep their dollars in the community. And small retailers have an important role to play by buying locally as well. Not only are you then supporting other local businesses, but you'll also be able to offer one-of-a-kind merchandise that customers can't find in big box stores, thus giving them an important reason to visit your store.

On SHOP Local Saturday, why not take your support to the next level and spotlight local artisans by inviting them to talk with visitors about their process, materials, or other details of their handiwork? Shoppers will be even more inspired to select these special gifts — and share a favorable impression of your store — when they can meet the craftsmen and hear their unique stories.

3. Get your staff involved.

Encourage your employees to share their “staff picks" to help customers make informed decisions and further build the bond with your clientele. You can even create a special display to highlight various goods and invite your team members to be available to discuss their choices.

It's also wise to make sure your staff is well-trained and knowledgeable about the merchandise. Customers at small retailers are looking for a unique experience, and your associates play a key role. Of course, that includes making sure to staff up appropriately for your seasonal shopping kick-off.

4. Create a neighborhood event.

Customers will be more likely to visit your store if there are multiple shops in the area all celebrating SHOP Local Saturday. Work with your local merchants' or neighborhood association to come together and plan a lively event that shoppers won't want to miss. Create a holistic marketing campaign that entices shoppers, and then encourage them to stay to enjoy the holiday atmosphere.

If all of the participating shops are located in a designated district or on a single street, you can share costs to create a festive environment that includes sweet and savory treats, twinkling lights and other decorations, and music provided by a local school group or band. You can also have drawings or giveaways to further encourage foot traffic, or create a game that encourages shoppers to visit multiple stores to receive a prize.

As holiday shoppers increasingly yearn to find alternatives to the loud, overwhelming mall or big box stores, small- and medium-sized retailers have the opportunity to position themselves as a premier alternative destination. Participating in SHOP Local Saturday allows you to kick off your important holiday shopping season with flair, and create glad tidings of comfort and joy that will propel you throughout the holiday season.

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This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.