Commentary

Holiday Deals For "Shopping Small"

According to the second annual Small Business Saturday Insights Survey, by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and American Express, with five fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, many small business owners say they’ll be pulling out all of the stops to get customers into stores during the critical holiday shopping season.

Of those small business owners incorporating Small Business Saturday into their holiday plans, 70% say the promotion will be helpful in attracting new customers. Of those who say they’ll rely primarily on paid advertising to promote Small Business Saturday, 67% will offer discounts to drive consumers to ‘Shop Small’ on November 30

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Now in its fourth year, Small Business Saturday falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and serves as the traditional kick off to the holiday season for independent retailers and restaurateurs. The day was created in response to small business owners' most pressing need, more customers, and has since grown into an annual celebration of the independent businesses that help boost our local economies.

NFIB president and CEO, Dan Danner, says “… Small Business Saturday is a reminder of how important the small-business sector is to our economy, and why it’s so important to Shop Small all year around.”

Even as social media and word of mouth remain the top methods for business owners to reach customers with their Small Business Saturday offerings, the number of business owners who say they’ll rely primarily on paid advertising (TV, radio and newspaper) to promote Small Business Saturday has doubled (18% vs. 9% in 2012). Discounts continue to be the top incentive used to encourage consumers to Shop Small, but more business owners are planning to reward customers by offering them a free gift with purchase (33%, up from 20% in 2012).

A large number of business owners are looking to their local communities to hire the help they need to meet consumer demand this holiday season. 73% of local small business owners aware of Small Business Saturday said they make it a point to hire employees from their neighborhood.

Findings from the survey also uncover the lengths to which small businesses are ready to go to promote their activities on Small Business Saturday. Among those that plan to incorporate Small Business Saturday into their holiday promotions:

  • 75% say the day would be more effective if communities participated together by hosting events
  • 39% are planning to collaborate with other small businesses in a community event to promote Small Business Saturday
  • 33% rely on social media most to promote Small Business Saturday to their customers

Other key survey findings relating to Small Business Saturday activities include:

  • 36% will offer coupons for future offers or discounts
  • 32% are starting their holiday promotions earlier than last year
  • 21% are planning to increase the number of employees working on Small Business Saturday

Susan Sobbott, president, American Express OPEN, says “… in 2012, small businesses took ownership of the day… offering great deals and amazing experiences… this year, with more than 1,000 ‘Neighborhood Champions’… the country will be blanketed with Small Business Saturday events… (to) help keep the registers ringing…”

And, deals for small businesses… 

For the past three years, small business owners have embraced the day and developed creative and effective ways to promote their businesses. American Express is helping to amplify those efforts with free digital and in-store marketing tools. The Small Business Saturday Marketing Toolkit from American Express provides businesses withturnkey, personalized assets and materials to better promote their efforts. These tools are available at ShopSmall.com and include:

  • Printable signage and decals to print and display in a business
  • Logos and imagery for business websites, custom materials, and social media pages
  • Suggested social media and email templates to get the word out to customers on the Web

FedEx Office is offering two copies of the free 11” x 17” printed poster that small business owners can create as part of their customized marketing campaign on ShopSmall.com. In addition, FedEx Office will offer a special discount to small businesses that take advantage of the free printing offer. FedEx will also promote Small Business Saturday to small businesses and consumers through their marketing channels. Offer terms apply and are available here.

Foursquare and American Express are offering small businesses $250,000 in free credits to use on the recently launched Foursquare Ads for Small Business platform. The credits will enable businesses to create local campaigns that can help drive new customers into their stores. Additionally, Foursquare will highlight millions of small businesses in their app to help drive foot traffic to local merchants on Small Business Saturday. Offers are available here.

Twitter is offering one million dollars in free advertising to small business owners who have not advertised with Twitter previously, to help drive customer engagement and increase sales on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season. Business owners can also get ready for the big day with an educational toolkit. Offer terms apply and are available here.

USPS is providing shipping of Shop Small branded merchandise orders placed on ShopSmall.com as well as Neighborhood Champion Activation Kits. USPS will also distribute a consumer mailer and place signage at approximately 1,500 Post Offices to emphasize the importance of supporting their neighborhood business and to help motivate consumers to go out and Shop Small on the day.

American Express will give Card Members a special offer for shopping on Small Business Saturday. Card Members who register an eligible American Express® Card will get a one-time $10 statement credit when they use their registered Card to spend $10 or more on November 30, 2013, in a single, in-store transaction at a qualifying small business location that appears on the Small Business Saturday Map. Offer terms apply and are

The Small Business Saturday Insights survey was conducted among a nationally representative sample of retail establishments with physical storefronts, kiosks, and restaurants/bars/pubs that are not part of a franchise. The average number of employees of all establishments in the survey was 6 (with the vast majority falling in the 0-5 range).

For additional information and the complete report, please visit here.

 

 

 

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