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Everything You Need to Know About American Express Small Business Saturday

Whether you’re a new business or you’ve never participated in Small Business Saturday, 2020 is the year to get involved.

With COVID-19 and all of the unpredictable situations we’ve faced this year, people are more supportive of small businesses than ever. This year is all about community and building each other up.

What is American Express Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday came to be during the recession in 2010. As a company, American Express values community — which is why they created a new movement on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, inspiring people to holiday shop at small businesses.

The first Small Business Saturday was such a success that it went nationwide in 2011. Business associations, nonprofit groups, and public officials united to form a coalition, encouraging everyone to Shop Small.

People started to realize that shopping small also meant supporting their local communities. After all, small businesses are what bring life and character to communities, helping them thrive.


How Can My Business Encourage People to Shop Small?

As mentioned, consumers enjoy shopping small because they know that they’re supporting their community. That said, why not share how you’re supporting the community, too? Why did you decide to put roots down in this community? Why’s it important to you, and what’s your story?

You can share your background via social media posts, emails, in-store flyers, and more. No matter where you put your focus, your customers will love getting to know you. 

That’s the difference here. People would rather shop from a local retailer who they’ve connected with than a big box retailer they’ll never get to speak to. Own that!

If you’re not really sure where to begin with visuals, American Express has posters, social media graphics, and more you can download in preparation for Small Business Saturday. These materials help show customers you’re part of the movement, which is also a great way to start a conversation.

Whether you go big or keep it light, just make sure you put a bit of extra effort into email campaigns, social media posts, and in-store promotion this year. The best way to reach people and tell your story is being present where they are. All of your communication will be worth it!

Make Small Business Saturday Involved and Exciting

So you know what Small Business Saturday is and how important it is to tell your story — but how can your business stand out from the crowd and get customers excited? We’ve got a few ideas.

Local or Virtual SMB Events

While it may look a little different this year, there are typically local events for owners that help kick off Small Business Saturday. It’s still good to look into, so check in your area for socially distanced events or search online for virtual gatherings.

Depending on your store setup and the amount of space you have, you could consider throwing your own small party, too! These events provide a great opportunity to meet other small business owners and network with important people in your city. Again, this can also be done virtually, so get creative with ways your business can make its mark.

Shop Small Deals and Contests

You may be participating in Black Friday already, and that’s great. However, if you want to be involved with Small Business Saturday this year, you should line up some enticing deals for the movement.

Create BOGO offers, percentage or dollar amount discounts, free gifts with purchases, or anything else you can think of to excite customers. But most importantly, the offers you come up with should not be the same ones you used for Black Friday.  

You can also run contests on social media, which are extremely simple to manage. Instagram is a great platform for contests! Create an organic post, maybe featuring the “prize” that’s up for grabs. The post caption can say something similar to the following:

Small Business Saturday is near, and we’ve got a special surprise for you. We’re giving away [prize] to one lucky winner! To enter, make sure you’re following us. Then, like this post, and tag three friends in the comments. The contest ends on [date] and a winner will be announced on [date]!

Running a contest like this does a few things. One, it shows your involvement with Small Business Saturday, encouraging people to Shop Small. Second, it gets people excited because, who doesn’t love free stuff? And third, it’s literally a priceless way to gain new followers and boost engagement on social media. Win, win, win.

Keep Your Customers Up to Date

One of the most important parts of American Express Small Business Saturday is making sure your store’s information is up to date. It’s been a crazy year for everyone, we know — but do everything you can to make life easier for your customers during the holidays.

If you don’t have listings, Google My Business and the Shop Small Map are great places to start. This time of year, consumers will be exclusively looking for small businesses — and you want to make sure you’re easy to find.

If you already have a Google My Business listing, check back on it if your store hours will be changing. Like many other businesses, you may have edited them early on when quarantine was just letting up and forgot to change your hours back. You don’t want customers to miss out on valuable time or arrive at your storefront when you’re not open!

On that same note, check on Facebook if you’re active there, too. Your Facebook Business profile allows you to include store hours and additional details, and social media is another place consumers will look to learn more about your small business.

Preparing for American Express Small Business Saturday

Feeling overwhelmed by the holiday season? Don’t stress — we’ve got your back!

If you need inspiration or retail-focused tips, download our free resource: The Retailers’ Guide to Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and the 2020 Holiday Season.

Our guide has ideas, tips, industry-specific offers, and everything else you need to succeed this holiday season. Make your mark as a small business and encourage your local community to Shop Small. You’ve got this!


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