News & Trends

Small Business Saturday keeps it local

Posted by: Diane Agostinello Diane Agostinello
on November 18, 2014

On November 29, small businesses are opening their doors for the fifth annual Small Business Saturday. In the U.S., many retailers kick off their holiday shopping deals during the five-day span from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, causing shoppers to spend big bucks as they prepare for the holidays. In 2013 alone, shoppers spent over $22.23 billion during the holiday weekend.

Four years ago, American Express founded Small Business Saturday to help drive shoppers to local merchants nationwide. Small Business Saturday gives communities the opportunity to invest in their people and businesses, in turn creating more jobs, powering the economy, and invigorating local communities.

As the fifth annual Small Business Saturday approaches, let’s take a quick look back at the initiative’s growth, and provide insight into how small business owners and others in the community can get involved this year.

In 2011, just one year after its creation, the U.S. Senate officially recognized Small Business Saturday. The event proved to be a success, with 100 million shoppers (17 million more than expected) coming out to support the event.  In 2012, customers spent an estimated $5.5 billion at small, independent businesses and in 2013 customers spent an estimated $5.7 billion. This year, it is projected that eight in ten Americans are likely to shop at local businesses during the upcoming holiday season, according to a 2014 nationwide Nielsen survey commissioned by Yelp. Nearly half plan to spend more than $100 at local businesses.

Prep for success

All small business owners are welcome to be a part of Small Business Saturday, no registration or sign-up required! Here are a few tips from American Express to help small businesses promote in-store foot traffic and attract online sales:

Build brick and mortar foot trafficHelp attract customers in the neighborhood to your business with in-store promotional materials like printable signage. This year, businesses that accept American Express cards can also place themselves on a Shop Small Map, so shoppers can easily find participating retailers.

o Develop a marketing program. Utilize the free materials developed by American Express to develop a marketing program to get the word out. Some of the resources available include logos and infographics, email templates and sample social media posts for Small Business Saturday, free online ads for Small Business Saturday to promote your business, and digital banners to use on your blog, website, and any other online platforms.

Rally your neighborhood

Shoppers and supporters can also do their part to promote small businesses in their neighborhood by becoming a Neighborhood Champion — someone who organizes an event or promotion in their neighborhood, rallies local businesses to participate in Small Business Saturday, and encourages their peers to support and shop at the region’s small businesses.

Interested in becoming a Neighborhood Champion either this year or next? First, register and fill out an application form, listing general information, the local businesses recommended in the neighborhood, and the overall plan to meet these goals. Once approved, participants will receive a Small Business Saturday Event Kit containing branded merchandise. Retailers and supporters that have special themed Small Business Saturday events can add themselves to an Eventbrite calendar. These events include block parties, street fairs, kickoff breakfasts, etc.

Another way to show your support is by sharing where you shop! Tweet, Instagram, and post on Facebook using the hashtag  #ShopSmall to help promote participating businesses in your area.

Shopping at independent, local-owned businesses ensures that more than half of what is spent stays in the area’s economy, supporting organizations and services. For more information, check out Small Business Saturday’s website. Happy shopping!

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