Tips for Participating in Small Business Saturday on November 27

Spending on Small Business Saturday reached a record high of $19.8 billion in 2020. Are you ready for the shop small holiday this year? Here are a few tips to try to join the Small Business Saturday movement!

Share your unique Small Business story.

According to a survey conducted by Mint in 2021, 70% of Americans are supporting local by shopping online or a mix of online and in-store. Customers want to shop small, so make sure they know YOUR small business story! Who's behind your business, and how did you get started? What brought you to the Mercer Island community? What makes your products or services special? Sharing your unique story with the community can help strengthen connections between you and your customers, both current and future.

Pro Tip: MInext, Mercer Island's own "buy local" campaign, is a great avenue for sharing your story with the community. Learn more and join the campaign at

Offer a Small Business Saturday special or activity.

Help your business stand out with a Small Business Saturday special, discount, activity, or other offer. Not sure where to start? Think about what your business is best known for, who your audience is, and what has worked in the past. Here are examples to get you started:

  • Offer a 10% discount on new items.
  • Partner with a neighboring business to provide free snacks or drinks to your first 50 customers.
  • Give a coupon for "20% of your next purchase" when customers spend $50 or more.
  • Wrap or package gifts for free.

If you don't have a storefront, are only taking online orders, etc., you could still offer a virtual experience to engage your customers on this shop small holiday.

Pro Tip: Collaborate with your business neighbors to plan a "Shop the Block" event that encourages customers to visit all shops and services in your area. Coordinating efforts can help you reach new audiences and cut down on marketing costs through cross-promotion as well as provide a fun post-Thanksgiving activity for families and friends to do together.

Build excitement among your audiences.

Whether online or in-store, start promoting your Small Business Saturday plans as soon as possible! Create special signage for your windows, e-mail your newsletter list your special discount, and schedule social media posts now that highlight your offerings and catch your busy customers' attention.

Pro Tip: Use free event and calendar listings to spread the word about your plans and expand your digital footprint. The Mercer Island Reporter, The Patch, The Stranger, Eventbrite, and ParentMap are great for reaching local and regional audiences with diverse interests.

Keep the momentum going!

Small Business Saturday is a one-day holiday, but you can capitalize on the success of your plans and keep the momentum going through the rest of the year. Consider trying one or more of these follow-up activities.

  • Share photos on Facebook or Instagram with a simple message thanking your customers and supporters.
  • Collect e-mail addresses from customers and send a welcome note with three other ways to connect with your business. Consider including an offer in your e-mail to bring customers back before the end of the year.
  • Celebrate the rest of the holiday season by planning other "buy local" activities and events. Don't forget to share your plans with the City so we can help you promote!

Pro Tip: Speaking of seasonal events, why not join Illuminate MI, Mercer Island's own "festival of lights," this year? The City is once again illuminating areas around Town Center with twinkling holiday lights. Get in on the fun by decorating your storefront, add your activities to our calendar of "events," and collaborate with us to offer winter activities every weekend in December. For more details and to get involved, contact Katie Herzog at

Are you planning something special for your customers on Small Business Saturday? Share your plans with the City so we can help you promote them! And tune into the City Council meeting on Tuesday, November 16, when Mayor Benson Wong will proclaim Saturday, November 27, Small Business Saturday in Mercer Island.

The City of Mercer Island wants to support local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact Sarah Bluvas, Economic Development Coordinator, at to let us know how we can help.

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