American Express Encourages Consumers To 'Shop Small' WIth QR Codes

American Express is rolling out geo-specific QR codes to encourage local business discovery.

The “Let’s Go Shop Small” campaign, launching July 11, encourages consumers across the country to support their local businesses this summer, continuing the brand’s legacy of championing #ShopSmall.

The interactive campaign aims to make it easy for consumers to discover local small businesses. QR codes featured in creative will introduce consumers to nearby summer businesses that are featured in the creative - from bookstores and ice cream stores, to clothing and barber shops. 

Once consumers scan the QR code, they will be provided with relevant local businesses from the American Express’ Shop Small map.



The campaign is running in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, Boston, Denver and San Francisco throughout the summer.

Creative was developed in a collaborative effort both internally and across  agency partners including Dentsu, UM Worldwide and Barbarian.

American Express has a longstanding commitment of backing its colleagues, customers, and communities, says Marianne Rausch, vice president, Small Business Saturday and Shop Small - global advertising and brand management at American Express. 

“This is our North Star,” she tells Marketing Daily. “The Shop Small initiative is core to who we are as a company and a powerful proof point of our commitment.”

In 2010, American Express created Small Business Saturday to encourage consumers to Shop Small following the financial crisis. Since then, Small Business Saturday has expanded into a year-round, global Shop Small movement.

“Since 2020, the company spent more than $300 million toward Shop Small campaign initiatives to help jumpstart spending at small businesses,” Rausch says. “This initiative is part of American Express’ efforts to drive $100 billion in consumer spending at small businesses through 2025. We are always looking for ways to evolve how we show up for the small businesses that make our communities unique.”

According to a new Shop Small Summer survey from American Express, 90% of consumers say they are likely to shop small this summer, either in their own community (88%) or in the local area while traveling (83%).  

While 63% of owners say that the size of their local small community has decreased since the pandemic,  there’s evidence that local customers are rising to the occasion to show their support, with 71% of small business owners saying they have seen an increase in local shoppers in the past year, compared to 2021, according to the survey.

Meanwhile, 58% of small business owners expect to see an increase in business during the summer compared to the rest of the year, and 39% say summer will be their busiest season of the year in terms of sales. A majority (87%) say that local support is integral to the success of their business this summer.

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