AmEx exec shares strategy behind Small Business Saturday

2 Comments | This entry was posted in Holidays, Retail Companies

We’ve all heard of Black Friday (and, today, many of are breathing a collective sigh of relief that it’s over!). And most of us have heard of Cyber Monday, the popular phrase for the Monday after Thanksgiving. But have you heard of Small Business Saturday?

If you haven’t, you’ve got an excuse: This is the first year the phrase Small Business Saturday, coined by American Express OPEN, has been on the retail radar. And today just happens to be Small Business Saturday, which encourages Americans to get out and shop at mom-and-pop retail companies. To get some insight on retail’s latest catchphrase, we reached out to Rosa Sabater, Senior Vice President at American Express.

Rosa SabaterWhy did American Express create the concept of Small Business Saturday and what are you hoping to achieve?

Our division, American Express OPEN, is dedicated to small businesses. We created Small Business Saturday in the hopes of rallying consumers around shopping at local, independently owned small businesses that are the lifeblood of our communities. We hope to raise consumer awareness of the importance of small business and encourage consumers to act with their wallets and carve out a portion of their holiday spend for small business. Given the current economy, now is the time small businesses need consumers visiting their stores the most.

On your website it says that for every $100 spent at local small businesses, $68 returns to the local community. In what other ways do small businesses contribute to the economy?

About 65% of net new jobs created during the last two decades were created by small businesses. We want customers to commit to walking into a small business on November 27 and beyond. According to the Small Business Administration, on a national level small firms represent 99.7% of all employer firms, employ half of all private sector employees, and pay 45% of total U.S. private payroll. On a local level, small businesses contribute to communities and neighborhoods in more ways than we could ever innumerate.

You have pledged to give $100 of free advertising to the first 10,000 small businesses who sign-up to the campaign on Facebook. What types of small businesses have you seen getting involved in Small Business Saturday?

Consumers and business owners are flooding the Small Business Saturday Facebook page with support: One million people have pledged their support by ‘liking’ Small Business Saturday on Facebook; more than 100,000 card members (and counting) have already registered for the $25 statement credit. In the spirit of the movement, American Express has increased the cap to 200,000. 10,000 small businesses received free Facebook advertising as part of the Small Business Saturday, and those ads are currently running. The types of businesses getting involved run the gamut. Nearly every industry and every U.S. geographical area is involved in some way. What has been particularly interesting is the creative ways that small business owners are getting involved. Examples include: Terrapin Station Winery in Maryland, which normally closes its tasting room for the season in October, is opening just for Small Business Saturday; AlwaysChristine photography in Michigan is offering 27% to anyone who mentions Small Business Saturday when they come in on November 27; and Stella & Dot jewelry in Connecticut is giving all of its net proceeds from a line of $19 bracelets designed for little girls to Girls, Inc.

American Express also works with many of the largest retailers in the country. How have they responded to Small Business Saturday?

Our message is all about balance. We are not saying consumers should avoid big box retailers. We are simply advocating that they think about where they shop and carve out some time and money for the smaller businesses in the neighborhoods where they work and live.

Are you hoping Small Business Saturday becomes a regular feature in the holiday shopping season?

That is our hope, and if the initial response is any indication, we are well on our way.

Where are you planning to shop on Small Business Saturday?

My daughter and I are planning to get pedicures and manicures at our local nail salon and we plan to shop at a neighborhood t-shirt shop that my daughter loves.

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One Comment

  1. avatar bunny borkowski
    Posted November 27, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    i could not find the names of small business’ in my area except for sweet mabels narberth pa. i shopped there and can’t wait to see my credit. thank you B B

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