SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY
Anne Wallace, Esq.

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is November 29, 2014. Last year shoppers spent approximately $5.7 billion at independent merchants around the country on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and the numbers have been rising steadily since 2010.

American Express, a founding partner of Small Business Saturday, provides participating retailers with a variety of marketing resources and promotional items. This year Etsy is also collaborating with American Express. If your small retail business or local business association wants to get in on the program, there is still time.

Boosting fourth quarter revenue would be great. Continuing  the trend into the first quarter of 2015 would be really great. This gets to the other purpose of Small Business Saturday, which is to build a customer base. That means capturing data. It also means keeping it secure.

Capturing Data

One of the worst mistakes a businessperson can make at a promotional event is to fail to capture information about attendees. But being too intrusive can backfire, and it can have legal ramifications as well.

If you politely ask shoppers who wander into your store to part with an e-mail address so that you can let them know about future promotions, your marketing efforts will probably not run afoul of the CAN-SPAM Act. But you probably won’t get much either.

Games and contests that extract the same information are another option. Be aware that they are heavily regulated by state law, though, and so a little business legal advice would not be misplaced.  At a minimum:

  • limit participation to those over the age of 18,
  • do not risk having the game classified as a lottery by charging a fee to participate and
  • disclose terms, conditions, nature of prize and time frames. There is very little legal risk in over-disclosure.

Swarm Mobile offers technology that allows brick and mortar retailers to collect data from a customer’s smartphone. It is seen as a way to offer special deals and promotions in much the same way that online retailers do, but it raises privacy issues. Disclosure of the terms and conditions of the store’s free Wi-Fi is the key, but it will still leave some consumers uneasy.

Data Security Breaches

The year has been full of these stories, from Target to Heartbleed to Home Depot.  Small retailers may be less at risk for hacking than big-box chains, but the issue will certainly be on customer’s minds. Yesterday would be a good time to review your business’s data security system and the security of external sites your business works with. Your business may also want to consider investing in some data breach insurance.

Don’t forget the low-tech threat to your data, either, such as the disgruntled former employee who walks off with a customer list. Particularly as your business expands, or if it hires temporary employees for the holiday season,  it may be smart to limit employee access to data by job function.

Small Business Saturday is an increasingly big deal for small retailers. With some attention to the task of building a customer base, it could be even more than one very good day.  Capturing and protecting data can be a delicate job, though, and may ultimately take as much planning as getting shoppers through the door in the first place.

  • Should You Finance the Sale of Your Business?

    September 30, 2014

    Truthfully, most sellers don’t want to take back paper. An all-cash deal often looks like the easiest and cleanest way to get on to the next venture, much preferable to waiting for another 5 to …

  • What To Do When Your Amazon Account Gets Suspended [e278]

    September 08, 2016

    Nasir and Matt discuss why Amazon seller accounts are getting suspended and banned without notice and how business owners can rectify this situation through a Corrective Action Plan. Transcript: NASIR: Welcome to Legally Sound Smart Business. My name is …

  • Fox News Sexual Harassment Case Highlights the Need for Effective Sexual Harassment Policies and Procedures in the Workplace

    July 26, 2016

    Workplace sexual harassment has been grabbing headlines lately, thanks to charges filed by former “Fox & Friends” co-host Gretchen Carlson against Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. Carlson has alleged that Ailes fired her …

  • What Should I Pay My Employees?

    October 21, 2014

    If your small business is about to begin to hire its first employees, you may be puzzled about how much to pay them. If you offer too little, you won’t be able to hire who …

  • 10 Tips to Prevent Business Litigation

    September 24, 2015

    An ounce of prevention, as they say, is really just sound business practice. Litigation can be ruinously expensive and may force a business into liquidation. Even a “win” can devour the time and energy you need to …

  • How Businesses Can Fight Back Against Negative Social Media [e246]

    January 11, 2016

    Nasir and Matt kick off 2016 by discussing how one Indianapolis bar responded to a negative post on its Facebook page. Transcript: NASIR: Welcome to our podcast where we cover business in the news and add our …

  • How One Business Was Awarded Money From An Untrue Yelp Review [e226]

    September 30, 2015

    Nasir and Matt talk about a judge in New York awarding a business owner $1,000 as a result of a bad Yelp review left by a disgruntled customer.  They also discuss a recent lawsuit appeal …

  • Can You Get Fired For Being Racist? [e215]

    August 17, 2015

    Nasir and Matt discuss how racism led to employees getting fired and another instance where a judge overturned a decision to terminate a racist employee. Transcript: NASIR: Okay. Welcome to our podcast where we cover business in …

  • How Much is My Business Worth?

    September 25, 2014

    You have spent a lot of time building your business, but about three to five years ago you began to think about selling, so you have been taking all the necessary steps to position it …

  • Diversity, Employment Discrimination and Inclusion

    September 17, 2015

    Diversity in the workplace, a totally laudable goal, is actually harder to achieve than many employers appreciate, and ill-conceived or badly executed efforts can actually make things worse, opening the door to legal liability.  To …

 

Read More