In an effort to up the ante from last year's Small Business Saturday, American Express is offering both businesses and consumers incentives to participate. With these promotions, this year's event, which will take place Nov. 26, is looking to improve on an impressive first year where 1.5 million Facebook users "liked" the Small Business Saturday Facebook page and 41 elected officials declared their support for the event.
"Last year, independent merchants who accept American Express saw an average boost in sales of 28 percent on Small Business Saturday," said Mary Ann Fitzmaurice Reilly, senior vice president at American Express OPEN. "Shoppers sent a clear message that shopping local is an important part of the holiday season and small businesses are rewarding that loyalty with what their customers care about most — superior service, unique selection and some great deals."
Small Business Saturday was started by American Express and 130 partners in an attempt to drive up sales for small businesses in local communities. In its second year, Small Business Saturday will get a big boost from several big businesses this year as they are offering several deals that seek to encourage consumers to shop small on the day after Black Friday.
This Small Business Saturday consumers will be able to take advantage of a $25 credit on their credit card statement from American Express. This credit is available to a limited number of card members who pre-registered on the Small Business Saturday Facebook page and will spend at least $25 with an eligible American Express card. For a list of small businesses where the card is accepted, consumers can check the Small Business Saturday Facebook page.
FedEx also supported this year's event by giving away 40,000 shop-small gift cards worth $25 through its Facebook page in an attempt to improve sales for small-business owners this Small Business Saturday. These 40,000 gift cards were distributed in less than one hour.
In addition to these offers, consumers will also be able to use shopping guides listed on the Small Business Saturday Facebook fan page to see places to shop during this year's event. Users can search by ZIP code and business category to find and "like" small businesses in their communities.
Over 200 advocacy groups are also joining the shop-small movement this year. One group, Women Impacting Public Policy, a nonpartisan organization focused on helping female-owned businesses, is hosting events in 15 cities encouraging consumers to shop small.
"Small Business Saturday is about supporting small business overall," said Kenneth Chenault, American Express chairman and CEO, in an Oct. 27 news conference announcing this year's Small Business Saturday. "The message that we really want to build here is support your small businesses. Not only will there be an increase in sales for small businesses, but you will see a growth in our overall economy and a growth in jobs. Last year was our first year, but we feel the momentum has built. People want to support small businesses and their neighborhoods."