Down and Out, But Not Without Perks

Most small business owners are probably more concerned with making sure to keep their own staff employed than offering perks to the legions of unemployed around them. But it might be a good marketing trick.

BW personal finance writer Amy Feldman explored how large corporations are offering deals and promotions for recently laid off workers. In a clever turn, FedEx, for example, is letting people print resumes for free one day. Such promotions gives you a chance to build customer loyalty as well as offer discounts on products - which may not be moving anyway - without having to do something so drastic as a price cut. (For more on how to move merchandise without cheapening your brand, check out our recent discounting story.)

Can small businesses afford similar moves? I recently read about an independent grocery store that was offering customers a 10% discount on all purchases if they could show proof of unemployment from a state agency AND they signed up for the grocer’s loyalty club program. How else can small businesses keep themselves, and their customers, afloat?

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