Small Business Saturday: Six Ways VARs Can Profit
Cha-ching. Big retailers apparently rang up big sales on Black Friday (Nov. 26), which is the biggest holiday shopping day in the US. But here’s an interesting twist: With a major assist from American Express, thousands of entrepreneurs are busy promoting Small Business Saturday (Nov. 27). Here are six ways VARs and managed services providers can potentially profit from the small business shopping push.
First, a little background: More than 1.1 million people are now following the Small Business Saturday Facebook page, launched by American Express. The idea is to ensure holiday shoppers open their wallets and support small retailers and independent businesses on Main Street USA. In some ways, The VAR Guy is a small business blogger… so he certainly welcomes the American Express efforts.
Start Planning Now
Alas, it’s too late for many VARs to cash in on this year’s Small Business Saturday. But savvy VARs can circle Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011 on their calendars right now. Then, organize multiple promotions to ensure small business owners are prepared for that heavy-traffic shopping day. Here are six ways how:
- Deliver On-demand Scalability: Most small business retailers still lack e-tailing websites. Search the term Online Shopping Cart Solutions on Google and you’ll find dozens of ways to build storefronts for your customers. But don’t stop there. Figure out how to build the storefront on a cloud service (Rackspace Cloud, SoftLayer CloudLayer, etc.) to ensure the system scales during peak holiday traffic.
- Offer VIP and Concierge Services: A growing number of MSPs offer free home support to small business owners’ immediate families. Connect with a small business CEO’s family and you’ll have a customer for life. Sometime in November 2011, set up remote monitoring services for all at-home systems (PCs, media servers, tablets, laptops, etc.) and agree to update the remote-monitoring services in January 2012 — ensuring all the holiday-purchased gadgets are now part of the monitored system.
- Expand Your CRM and PSA Systems: In order to fulfill tip #2, you’ll need to update your CRM (customer relationship management) and/or PSA (professional services automation) system to track a small business CEO’s family. Do you know when the CEO is about to send a son or daughter away for college? Compile a list of family milestones (key birthdays, graduation dates, etc.) to pro-actively help the CEO spoil his spouse and kids with the latest IT gadgets. Again, you’ll earn a customer for life.
- Publish A Preferred Shopping List: Publish a list of preferred desktops, laptops and mobile devices for the home. Then, on Small Business Saturday, assist your customers with those potential purchases — either through your own storefront or through third-party sites.
- Get to the Point of Sale: Evaluate your retail customers’ point-of-sale (PoS) infrastructure every May, submit a proposal in June and deploy new systems by September to ensure all the kinks are worked out before the November holiday shopping rush.
- Think Business Continuity: What if small business IT systems failed on Small Business Saturday? Pro-actively review the your small business customers’ business continuity strategy each July. Then, test the business recovery plan each September to ensure all the kinks are worked out for the end-of-year holiday shopping rush.
That’s all The VAR Guy has to say about that. Time to get back to holiday shopping… at a few local small businesses, of course.