New study helps small business defend against big retailer mini-stores, online shopping

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SalesFuel’s Small Business Saturday free white paper offers new insights to help businesses prepare for Nov. 26

Small Business Saturday this year is November 26 and in advance of it, SalesFuel is releasing its free white paper “Small Business Saturday Shoppers 2016: Helping Small Businesses Compete with Big-Box and Online Giants.” In it, SalesFuel uses data from its 2016 AudienceSCAN® survey to offer small businesses helpful direction for taking full advantage of Small Business Saturday.

AudienceSCAN surveyed nearly 16,000 consumers 18+ in the United States and the data found can help businesses prepare this year’s marketing and business strategies going into Small Business Saturday. The research comes at a critical time when big box retailers are shifting gears dramatically, trending toward adding mini-stores and encroaching further into locally-owned business territory.

In addition to the ongoing competitive threat from online retailers, Target’s CEO recently announced they’re opening mini-stores in high-density cities and college towns to capture millennials and increase their localism with tailored stock”, says SalesFuel CEO C. Lee Smith. “SalesFuel’s purchase intent data and marketing recommendations in this free white paper will help small businesses position themselves this holiday to better counter these threats and drive revenue.”

This year’s data shows that 23% of U.S. adults shopped at a locally owned business on Small Business Saturday. This demonstrates a negligible drop from 23.5% in the 2015 AudienceSCAN survey. A bigger dip occurs, however, when we look at 2014 data – when 28.7% of Americans said they shopped small. That’s a nearly 20% drop in two years. The research also shows small businesses are missing opportunities to not only participate in this holiday-shopping day, but also formulate bullseye strategies to promote their participation.

Other key data points in the paper include:

  • Differentiate by high service levels. Customers just need a refresher on why they love to walk into a local store and be greeted warmly by their neighbor. Consumers need to remember that they rely on in-person conversations with industry and retail experts for gift ideas and product advice. Small Business Saturday shoppers know your value. It’s small businesses’ job, and that of their agents, to get back in front of customers by knowing their value.
  • Hot item categories this year include: antique dealers, audio shops and spas/salons.
  • Small businesses offering consumer services most definitely should take a more active role in Small Business Saturday, and the Shop Small movement in general.
  • Advertise NOW so customers can plan and not spend all their budgets on Black Friday.
  • Digital/Online buying strategies are key. A solid 24.9% of your SBS shoppers are aged 25 to 34. You just need to spend more time and effort marketing to them online, and reaching the Y Generation on their smartphones! AudienceSCAN research revealed they are 57% more likely than average shoppers to take action from an ad on a social network.



Beth Frederick
Beth is the Vice President of Marketing at SalesFuel. She has over 20 years of experience client-side, agency-side and for one of the largest media companies in North America.