Make This Your Best Small Business Saturday Ever

How to get even more local dancers and dance moms to #ShopSmall (but buy big) with your dance store this November 26 on Small Business Saturday

Woman with Shop Small tote bag over her shoulder, shopping on Small Business Saturday.
Do you have your store’s plan in place? It’s not too late to make last-minute marketing moves for Small Business Saturday. Don’t miss out! Courtesy of American Express.

Last updated October 25, 2022

Small Business Saturday is around the corner—in 2022, it’s on November 26. And even though back-to-school and recital time are a dance retailer’s biggest selling seasons, the day after Black Friday can give your holiday sales a nice boost, too, to close out the year strong.

Each year the event grows—in shoppers and sales. In 2018, an estimated 104 million consumers spent nearly $18 billion at independently owned local stores on Small Business Saturday. And more than 7,500 Main Street merchants became Neighborhood Champions, rallying their communities with events and activities like block parties and pop-up markets to drive traffic to local businesses. 

Free Marketing Materials to Customize 

Do you have your store’s plan in place? It’s not too late to make last-minute marketing moves. American Express, which launched Small Business Saturday 12 years ago, provides free downloadable marketing materials that any local business can download from its Shop Small Studio—everything from e-mail headers and social-media cover and profile art to templates for posters that you can customize. Do you have a sign for your door? Flyers to hand out?

Tabletop display at Attitude Dance Boutique, with stocking stuffers and sign "Stocking Stuffer Barre"
What customer could resist this? Attitude Dance Boutique posted this photo of its Stocking Stuffer “Barre” on Instagram in the run-up to Small Business Saturday. Courtesy of Attitude Dance Boutique

Do’s and Don’ts for Small Business Saturday

To boost your chances of a successful Small Business Saturday, here are some tips:

Don’t focus solely on slashing prices, like big-box stores do for Black Friday.

Instead, promote your strengths as a small business—the special experience shoppers get at your store. (That includes the chance to support a local business, which is something more and more consumers want to do.)

You might showcase small dancewear makers on that day, as Allegro Dance Boutique in Barrington and Evanston, IL, has, or host a workshop or a meet and greet. (Remember how President Obama would visit a local indie bookshop each year?) Attitude Dance Boutique in College Station, TX, has hosted their local civic ballet’s Clara—with photo ops for customers—and offered kids’ crafts and holiday treats at the store.

Mary Ann’s Dance and More in Easthampton, MA, will hold its 7th annual Ugly Sweater Party this year, with discounts for customers who wear, well, ugly sweaters. In the past, it has invited local crafters to hold pop-ups that day at the store.

Consider setting up an extra-special backdrop for selfies at your store and offering snacks to draw people in. Or band together with other local merchants to cross-promote your businesses. And, of course, excellent personal customer service is always your strong point, right?

Do consider extending your hours. 

Check out what other Shop Small events are going on in your town, and tailor your hours to take advantage of the increased foot traffic nearby.

Do staff up. 

Even if staff have quiet times, it’s better to be overstaffed so no customer (especially new ones) has a frustrating experience waiting to get help or check out.

Don’t neglect your merchandise mix. 

It’s a mistake to see holidays simply as clear-out time. Stock up strategically so your promotional efforts result in maximum sales. 

Do keep pumping it up on social media.

Switch up your cover photo on Facebook. Allegro Dance Boutique has featured its holiday gift guides, which make it easy for customers to find just the right gift for the dancers on their lists. Mary Ann’s Dance and More usually posts a bright red “Shop Local This Holiday Season” banner. How about adding an album of photos with the dancewear you’ll be selling? Or consider a Facebook ad to attract more shoppers.

Use #shopsmall, #shoplocal, #smallbizsat and #smallbusinesssaturday hashtags and tie a promotion to local check-ins. (Of course, you’ve made sure your store information is all up-to-date on your website, your social-media sites and all local business listings.) Share social content of other small businesses in your community.

And after it’s all over, to strengthen your customer relationships, reach out to people who came to thank them for making this your best Small Business Saturday ever.

Promoting Small Business Saturday on Instagram? Check out these tips for writing buzz-worthy captions.