While Black Friday may draw millions of discount-hungry shoppers to big name chain stores to shop for the coveted holiday presents, small businesses near you are also preparing for the holiday shopping season and are in need of your support. In 2010, American Express started Small Business Saturday on the day after Black Friday to encourage people to shop at brick and mortar small businesses instead of online or at giant retailers. Now in its third year, the Small Business Saturday movement has exploded in popularity for both shoppers and local businesses.
This year, Small Business Saturday falls on November 24th and many more small business owners are preparing to make it a major sales day. According to a survey released by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and American Express, 46% of independent retailers plan to participate and 67% of them will offer discounts and special offers like free giveaway prizes to encourage people to shop small. Furthermore, a study by American Express shows that supporting your neighborhood businesses is crucial to improving the economy because small businesses have a big economic impact and enrich their communities.
Norm Bour, Media and Community Relations Manager and Small Business Expert at OpisNetwork, shares some vital statistics: “According to the Small Business Administration (SBA) a small business is generally one with less than 500 employees doing less that $2.5 in annual sales. And that description defines the majority within most of the United States since over 97% of all businesses are considered small businesses by them. Small Business Saturday sales are projected to break $1.5B this year.”
Small Business Saturday is becoming a growing holiday shopping trend, says Small Business Saturday Shopping Expert Patricia Norins. “This initiative is growing like wild fire! Consumer awareness is growing and this year millions of American are budgeting to Shop Small on the 24th because they recognize the importance of supporting and celebrating the businesses in their community that are a vital part of the community.” Norins emphasizes the importance of shopping locally at small businesses. “Small Business Saturday helps small businesses on many levels. Firstly, it helps to level the playing with the big box stores. Prior to Small Business Saturday is was difficult for one independent store to compete against big box stores who are investing millions of dollars in advertising just for the holiday season. Also, American Express, the founding partner, ran a very comprehensive advertising campaign to create awareness around the day. Small Business Saturday has also grown tremendously through word-of-mouth from consumers and business owners which has helped to create even more awareness around the event.”
Think twice before fighting Black Friday crowds at big chain stores and consider shopping locally at your favorite local hangouts instead this Thanksgiving weekend. Support your neighborhood small businesses and enrich your community. Spend at least $25 with your American Express card at a participating small business in a single transaction and you will get a $25 credit on your next credit card statement within eight weeks.
How can shoppers take advantage of Small Business Saturday?
- Be an American Express cardholder
- Enroll for the $25 Statement Credit Offer
Go to the American Express Small Business Saturday website, ShopSmall.com, to enroll for the $25 Statement Credit Offer. Enrollment is limited so sign up now before the enrollment limit is reached.
- Find and Shop at Local Small Businesses
On Saturday, November 24th, spend over $25 at a local participating small business and receive $25 credit on your next American Express credit card statement.So which businesses near you are participating in Small Business Saturday? Use the Shop Small search tool to find local businesses near you to shop at on Small Business Saturday. Think small and find businesses near you that are not chains that also accept American Express. These are some common types of small business that you can support on Small Business Saturday:
- Restaurants – Celebrate a post-Thanksgiving meal at your local favorite restaurant.
- Bars – Catch a football game with your buds at your neighborhood watering hole.
- Food Trucks – Many of your favorite food trucks accept American Express through Square. Check the Square Directory to see if your local food truck or small business uses Square.
- Boutiques – Find thoughtful, unique gifts at carefully-curated shops near you.
- Specialty supply stores – Stores like kitchen supply stores, florists, quilting fabric stores, or sporting goods stores that sell special equipment or supplies near you are often small businesses.
- Treat yourself – Get a haircut or get pampered at your local salon or spa.
If you are unsure if a business near you is participating in Small Business Saturday, you can call them up and ask if they accept American Express and also take part in the holiday. If you are not an American Express cardholder, you can still show your support for your local businesses on Saturday and every day.
How can Small Business Owners participate in Small Business Saturday?
If your small business accepts American Express cards, find out if cardmembers can get the $25 credit by shopping with you by searching for your business at the Shop Small Map. If your business is not on the map or does not yet accept American Express cards, you can easily sign up with American Express.
Furthermore, NerdWallet has compiled a list of free resources to help small businesses prepare for Small Business Saturday with free FedEx printed signs and free video and online advertising and more. Many local hotspots have found that participating in Small Business Saturday has been invaluable for drawing customers to their stores. Even if your independent retail store does not accept American Express cards, you can participate in Small Business Saturday by promoting your shop as a small business and encourage shoppers to shop small on Saturday, in stores and online, and offer coupons and discounts.
Kazuki Kozuru-Salifoska, owner of children’s boutique babyNOIR in New York, shares how important Small Business Saturday was for her retail shop: “I have participated in Small Business Saturday on 2011. I plan on participating again this year. Last year, it brought in the local community who were happy to support entrepreneurs that were also their neighbors. Many customers that day told me that they were consciously shopping local, to support small businesses, and to look for unique items they wouldn’t find at larger retailers.” Kozuru-Salifoska also mentioned she hopes that this year’s Small Business Saturday will be as fruitful as last year’s.
Offering special discounts and giveaway prizes is another way independent retailers have been encouraging people to shop small this weekend. Husband and wife team and co-owners of Babesta, Jennifer and Aslan Cattaui sell trendy gifts for kids and parents and have participated in Small Business Saturday since it started two years ago. “We let our clients know about the event through our email list, Twitter, Facebook and blog — as well as flyers that we give out; the 17 other businesses are giving out the flyers to their customers that coordinate the SBS push we’re doing in TriBeCa. Of course, telling as many people in the media is a great way to spread the word also. We let everyone know that by coming on Saturday and using their American Express Card they will they be getting $25 back from Amex and Babesta is offering further incentives such as discounts on unique and sought-after goods and great giveaways” say the Cattauis
Local small businesses are also collaborating with other participating independent retailers to help each other thrive and sell. Mindy Linderman, owner of Olive Tree olive oil specialty store in Overland Park, Kansas, is also participating in a cash mob event on the same day. “Kansas City has started a grass roots effort to help small local businesses by planning a cash mob for the same date. A cash mob is where a store is voted on through Facebook and the winner is ‘mobbed’ by buyers who show up with at least $20 in cash to spend in the store. It is a way to help the locals get a cash infusion into their business.” Find local businesses working together and building new and creative ways to draw customers on Small Business Saturday.
Betsy & Iya, a lifestyle and jewelry boutique in Portland, Oregon, dreamed up a massively successful local Black Friday event last year and the store is extending it to Small Business Saturday this year. Betsy share her success story: “Little Boxes is a huge prize raffle that you can only enter by visiting one of the 170 participating local Portland shops on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. If you purchase something, you will receive a stamp on your Little Boxes map. With the stamped map, you unlock a 10% off discount at any other Little Box shop for the entirety of the event. You can also get extra entries into the raffle, with more purchases at each shop (extra stamps on your map equals extra entries into the raffle). Last year, Portlanders had a rich experience with their local shopping scene and shop owners reported record sales.” Betsy & Iva’s Little Boxes event exemplifies how creative neighborhood shops are teaming up and working together to help each other be successful, especially on Small Business Saturday.
Small businesses like these are gearing up for Saturday with great promotions and deals to earn your support this holiday season. Avoid the Black Friday madness at big chain stores, Shop Small and support your local Mom and Pop businesses for your holiday shopping needs this year on Small Business Saturday, November 24th, and throughout the holiday season.
Small Business Florist – Original image from Shutterstock