The biggest small-business event of the year is almost here, and it's grown into an economic force: Small Business Saturday reigned in more than $14.3 billion in independent stores last year, and in recent years the number of shoppers has reached near 100 million.
Launched in 2010 by American Express to encourage consumers across the country to support local businesses, Small Business Saturday has grown so popular, it now even boasts an app.
The Independent We Stand Buy Local app was recently launched by Independent We Stand (IWS), a cause campaign dedicated to helping independently-owned businesses educate their communities about the importance of buying local. The free app, available to Android and iOS users, makes it simpler for consumers nationwide to shop, dine and play locally.
Social media is a powerful marketing tool for small businesses. According to IWS, a whopping 97 percent of Internet users look for local goods and services online, and 3 out of 4 people have contacted a business they've found on their phone.
So what are the best ways local, independent business owners can tap into the growing Small Business Saturday action? Here are a few tips from small-business experts to get customers through the front door and to the register.