What’s less than 8 weeks away and right in the middle of the busiest quarter for indie retailers? It’s the biggest weekend of the retail holiday season: BFCM Small Business Saturday Weekend.
With this mega retail weekend quickly approaching, it’s time to start planning! Read on to learn why indie retailers love this weekend, which days to focus on, and how to prepare with my newest resource.
Why Indie Retailers Love BFCM Small Business Saturday Weekend
Big Box retail refers to this weekend as Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Most indie retailers, though, focus on Small Business Saturday.
Rather than just focus on one day, I encourage you to think bigger. We can do something fun every single day of this holiday weekend to serve our customers AND encourage them to shop at small, local businesses rather than big box stores!
We talk about this mega retail weekend, and Q4 in general, all the time in Master Shopkeepers. In fact, I recently hosted a class walking members through my Plan Your Best Holiday Season Yet workbook.
While I tend to talk about pain points in our businesses and how to improve parts of our businesses (or our minds), this weekend is one where most US-based indie retailers don’t complain. Many of us look forward to this cash-positive weekend—even if it is a lot of work.
Let’s dig into how to make the upcoming mega holiday sale weekend your best yet.
Day-by-Day Guide to BFCM Small Business Saturday Weekend
Six days encompass BFCM Small Business Saturday Weekend (maybe we should just give in and call it a week instead). Here’s how it all plays out:
Thursday, November 23, 2023 – Thanksgiving
Historically, indie retailers do nothing on this day except spend time with loved ones and enjoy a good meal.
Some of you don’t get a break here because you’re hosting family and friends, but it is usually a “day off.” It’s also the day that leads into BFCM Small Business Saturday Weekend, with some large retailers starting their sales this evening.
Friday, November 24, 2023 – Black (Plaid) Friday
This is when the retail weekend really begins! Some indie retailers will be closed on this day, but many will open to serve those who prefer to support small local businesses over big box stores.
The first year or two after we opened our store, we tried being open on Black Friday. It just wasn’t worth it, though—we weren’t in a high-traffic area, and we didn’t have enough of a following to make it worth being open.
Now? We open on Black Friday, and it’s definitely worth it.
For independent retail, you might consider an alternative like Plaid Friday. Plaid Friday was founded by a woman in California, and over the years, it has caught on BEYOND the West Coast.
The idea is that people in your community will wear plaid shirts to show their “shop local” support. If you want, you can offer a special deal or gift with purchase to anyone who comes in with a plaid shirt. Fun, right?!
Saturday, November 25, 2023 – Small Business Saturday
Now for the big one!
AmericanExpress started Small Business Saturday. Although credit companies are not my best friend at the moment, I appreciate what AmEx built with this movement because it makes a difference for indie retailers. They even offer free marketing materials every year to small businesses to encourage people to shop small.
If you want to stand out on Small Business Saturday, offer a discount or special promotion. But you don’t have to if you don’t want to! This is one day where you can protect your margins as so many people are out shopping anyway, without needing to entice them.
However, if you want to draw more people or give back to your customers for “loving on you” throughout the year, go for it!
Sunday, November 26, 2023
On this day, you choose what works best for you. Maybe you’re closed so you can rest and recover, or perhaps it’s a day of faith that you always take off.
If you do choose to open, have fun with it! For example, you could have a “second chance Sunday,” only open for a special set of hours, or celebrate any of the following:
- National Cake Day
- Secondhand Sunday
- Savings Sunday
- Superb Sunday
Monday, November 27, 2023 – Cyber Monday
If you have an online shop, this is for you! What special promotion can you offer? BOGO? Free shipping?
You don’t even have to be open on this day if you don’t want to, but I would plan on going in on Tuesday to ship!
Tuesday, November 28, 2023 – Giving Tuesday
This is the ideal day to “give back.” Per Wikipedia: “GivingTuesday, often stylized as #GivingTuesday for the purposes of hashtag activism, is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States. It is touted as a ‘global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world.’”
You’ll want to establish who and why you want to give to and share that information with your customers.
The next step is HOW. You can give back through a promotion, a donation drive, or donating a percentage of your sales from this day to a cause.
Plan Your Best BFCM Small Business Saturday Weekend Yet
Ready to plan your best holiday season yet? Through October 12, 2023, you can grab my Plan Your Best Holiday Season Yet Workbook for just $27.
It’s a digital workbook you can download, print, or use in a digital note-taking app like Goodnotes. You’ll receive it immediately after purchasing, so you can get to planning ASAP.
This 31-page holiday planning workbook is packed with social media idea lists for each month in Q4, calendars, and worksheets to help you plan ahead. It’s a tool designed to help you get your ideas out of your brain and onto paper (or your tablet!).
Once you start working on the pages and filling things in, you’ll feel a weight off your shoulders knowing you don’t have to remember every detail because it’s all mapped out.
If you have a VA, social media assistant, or team members you delegate to, they’ll appreciate this roadmap! I know my team members don’t want to have to guess or figure out what’s going on in my brain…and they shouldn’t. It’s scary. With this workbook, your team will know exactly what to work on and for when.
And by the way, it’s NOT too late to plan. There’s so much you can do even 7 weeks away! Grab your copy of the workbook for $27 before October 12!
- Get my Q4 planning workbook, Plan Your Best Holiday Season Yet Workbook for $27 before October 12, 2023!
- Free resource: Open a Brick and Mortar Store Checklist
- Take the Savvy Shopkeeper Quiz for your free shopkeeping journey roadmap, including curated resources and podcast episodes to help you work less, profit more, and grow.
- Get Free American Express Small Business Saturday Marketing Materials
- How to Stand Out on Small Business Saturday
- [01:05] Why Indie Retailers Love BFCM Small Business Saturday Weekend
- [03:12] Day-by-Day Guide to BFCM Small Business Saturday Weekend
- [13:49] Plan Your Best BFCM Small Business Saturday Weekend Yet