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Main Street pins hopes on Small Business Saturday sales to help stay afloat

Main Street pins hopes on Small Business Saturday sales to help stay afloat (via @CNBCMakeIt)

11/28/2020 2:08:00 AM

Main Street pins hopes on Small Business Saturday sales to help stay afloat (via CNBCMakeIt)

It's uncertain how Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28 will move the needle and help the millions of business owners on Main Street struggling to survive.

of every dollar spent at a small business—whether it's a retail store, restaurant or something else—stays in the community.An estimated 110 million people participated in Small Business Saturday last year, and sales hit a record high with an estimated $19.6 billion in reported spending, according to American Express, which helped to create Small Business Saturday in response to the Great Recession.

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While shoppers may be curbing spending in 2020, the CNBC/SurveyMonkey survey revealed that 30% of shoppers plan to patronize a small business on Small Business Saturday. That is down 9% from last year.Surprisingly, 39% of all that activity will be in-person, 25% online and 34% both. One percent of respondents did not answer the question, the survey noted. Those numbers are vastly different than last year when 8% planned to shop online, 58% in-person and 33% planned to do both.

Strategies in the Covid economyConsidering the many challenges small business owners face, experts give tips on how they can drive sales during this key shopping day.Most concur the best strategies include: boosting the company's online sales presence; implementing touchless transactions; introducing local delivery; creating customer gift lists, along with putting in place a range of new safety protocols in stores.

"The No. 1 thing small businesses need to do to drive sales on Small Business Saturday is prioritize health and safety for their customers," said Nick Satari, CSO of NMI, the payment platform used by 140,000 merchants and the behind-the-scenes payment enable for Apple Pay and Google Pay. "No. 2 is to embrace touchless payment systems," he added.

"Our customer surveys show these are what consumers are looking for. They want to feel safer in small store environments. Many believe big box retailers have more safety and health protocols in place than small businesses. Business owners need to change the perception."

As he explains, there are simple things business owners can do such as having hand sanitizers at the register, using floor markers for social distancing, having employees wear face makes and sanitizing point-of-sale systems between customers that go a long way in boosting consumer confidence.

Gary Huether, Jr., an entrepreneur in the restaurant business – an industry severely impacted by the pandemic-- has taken a lot of measures to prepare for Small Business Saturday in hopes of a sales boost."We have had some of the toughest restrictions of any industry since the coronavirus crisis began and we are hoping our customers will come out and support us this weekend with indoor dining or takeout," says Huether, president and co-founder of Arooga's Grille House & Sports Bar, a franchisor of 18 locations in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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Gary Huether Jr., president and CEO, Arooga's Grille House & Sports Bar hopes Small Business Saturday sales will boost revenues.To attract business for the shopping holiday the company integrated direct deliveries on its website allowing guests to use Agrooga's loyalty and gift cards on their purchases. It also rolled out a mobile app for takeout and direct deliveries that allows for contactless payments.

"We have been in a whirlwind, faced with different restrictions that vary state-by-state. Some of our store sales are down 20% to 30%," he said, noting last year the company posted $40 million in revenues. "We are hoping our loyal customers will use Small Business Saturday to go out and help small businesses not the big box retailers."

Andy Shalal, CEO and founder of Busboys and Poets, a group of restaurants, cultural centers and bookstores in the D.C. metro area, is hopeful that community support will help Main Street during the holidays this season. He sees customers coming back again and again for takeout and book deliveries.

"Small business set the vibe in communities across America. People recognize how important they are to the local economy."Recognizing their valuable contributions companies like Shopify and Facebook are trying to lend a helping hand to small businesses this weekend and throughout the holiday shopping season.

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