While we’re rolling in Thanksgiving festivities, small businesses everywhere are focused on Saturday. This Saturday is Small Business Saturday, started by American Express in 2010, as a day intended to support “the little guys.” This shopping event occurs the weekend after Thanksgiving, with a spending estimate of $15 billion. The motto – “Shop Local” or “Shop Small” – expresses two sentiments that are getting Millennials moving.

Millennials, born in the eighties and nineties, are one of the largest generations of our population. They are a segment of the market predisposed to trust their local small brick and mortar businesses, partially thanks to a distaste for big business. Millennials, approaching 80 million strong, have $1.7 billion in wallet power. Local retailers would be foolish not to tap into that.

Our Millennial Study found that Millennials’ buying habits include a distinct lack of interest in traditional advertising, and have a strong loyalty to the brands their peers like, help the common good, and have a driving need to interact with these brands via social networks.

Millennials have emerged as a driving force for small businesses. This generation likes convenience and supporting local, instant shopping gratification and a homegrown “giving back” experience. Not only do Millennials like to feel a connection to the products they buy, they appreciate a personalized shopping experience and customized products. Kells Barnett, a Millennial and owner of Harlem Haberdasery in New York, knows this perfectly well. He and his team design and sew suits for each and every customer by hand. Every customer, regardless of size or background has something that independently fits and he gives back passionately to the community that he grew up in.

Tips for Small Businesses to Market to Millennials:

  1. On Twitter and Google, Small Business Saturday is going to trend strong. We’re likely to see 5+ million tweets during the holiday season, following strong year-to-year growth for the past 2 years.
  2. From our Millennial Study, we know that social media dominates the way they receive their news. Small businesses should post images and content online about their holiday offerings to generate a buzz with Millennials.
  3. When a Millennial loves a product, everyone knows. The same rule applies if they hate it as they love to share product feedback on Facebook, blogs, Yelp, Twitter and any other medium possible.
  4. As much as they love telling others what to buy, they also look to the web to make their own buying decisions. More than 40 percent of Millennials check four or more sources when they are trying to decide whether to pay for a product or service.
  5. Today’s Millennials spend their money on themselves, so market with that in mind. Utilize a Millennial board to help craft marketing ideas.
  6. Invest in Millennial employees with training, experience, fair compensation, and retirement benefits. Like attracts like and is good business.
  7. They are most likely to form an attachment to vendors and brands who interact with them, in person or via social media. Small businesses can capitalize on this by ensuring they are listed online where the Millennial shoppers can find them.

Many Millennials are likely to read online reviews. My client Julie Lim, CEO of OC Wine Mart in Orange County, CA has done a successful job with her two thriving wine shops. She embraces sites such as Yelp and shares that business owners can build engagement and loyalty with each reviewer, regardless if the review is positive or negative. Interacting with your local bloggers and Yelpers will add some influence and, hopefully, produce more plentiful and positive reviews.

Statistics on Small Business Saturday:

  • There are 23 million small businesses in the country.
  • Small businesses have increased by 49% since 1982
  • 54% of U.S. sales happen at small businesses.
  • Small businesses have created 8 million jobs since 1990.
  • Small businesses donate 250% more than larger businesses to non-profits and community causes (Source: Seattle Good Business Network).
  • If you spend $100 at a local business, roughly $68 stays in your local economy. If you spend the same at a large business, only $43 stays in the local economy.
  • Small Business Saturday has more than 3.3 million Facebook fans on their “Shop Small” page.
  • $14.3 billion was spent on Small Business Saturday 2014, increasing $300,000 from 2013.
  • Consumers are still extremely price conscious. Small businesses who offer good deals and low prices are at an advantage.

How can you profit the most from shopping Small Business Saturday?

If you’re like thousands of Americans participating in Small Business Saturday, you can follow TwitterSmallBiz and Shop Small, as well as the hashtags #shopsmall and #smallbizsaturday. For a business owner, this is an opportunity to ride the marketing trend, and for a shopper, you’ll be able to follow what others are sharing.

Online shopping is expected to reach an all-time high and will soon exceed in-store shopping. Small businesses with successful online initiatives will be at a distinct advantage with Millennial shoppers. These shoppers now care as much about the shopping experience as the gifts they get. Standing out with personalization, relationship building, and a fruitful shopping experience puts small business owners at an immediate advantage.

 

 

This article was written by Winnie Sun from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.