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Incentives Add New Twist to Small Business Saturday

Incentives Add New Twist to Small Business Saturday
Retailers are finding creative ways to encourage people to shop on Small Business Saturday. / Credit: Small Business Saturday image via Shutterstock

Entrepreneurs will be pulling out all the stops this month to get shoppers in their doors on Small Business Saturday, new research shows.

A study by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and American Express discovered that an increasing number of small businesses are investing more money and providing additional incentives to reach customers this holiday season.

Specifically, the number of businesses that will rely primarily on paid advertising — TV, radio and newspaper — to promote Small Business Saturday has doubled, with 33 percent looking to rely on social media to get the word out.

When it comes to enticing shoppers, the number of small businesses planning to reward customers on Small Business Saturday, which falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and serves as the traditional beginning of the holiday season for independent retailers and restaurateurs, has increased from 20 percent to 33 percent over the last year. In addition, nearly 70 percent of small businesses will offer discounts on specific items or general discounts on the day, while 36 percent will provide coupons for future offers or discounts.

"Small-business owners are always looking for new ways to creatively promote their products and services — especially in a tough economy," said Dan Danner, NFIB president and CEO. "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."

The study also revealed small businesses will be adding more staffers to help handle the expected surge in shoppers, with more than 20 percentplanning to increase the number of employees working on Small Business Saturday.

American Express, which founded Small Business Saturday in 2010, is offering free digital and in-store marketing tools to help small business owners expand their local footprint throughout the holiday season. The Small Business Saturday Marketing Toolkit provides businesses withturnkey, personalized assets and materials to better promote their efforts.

These tools are available at 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.

American Express has also rallied organizations across the country to provide resources to help mobilize businesses and consumers for Small Business Saturday, including:

  • FedEx Office: This year, FedEx Office is offering free two copies of the 11-inch-by-17-inch printed poster that small business owners can create as part of their customized marketing campaign on In addition, they will offer a special discount to businesses that take advantage of the free printing offer.
  • Foursquare: 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 based on where they are, or what they are searching for. Additionally, Foursquare will highlight millions of small businesses in their app to boost foot traffic to local merchants on Small Business Saturday.
  • Twitter: 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 containing helpful tips on gaining more followers and launching exclusive promotions.

American Express is also offering it's own card members an incentive to shop on Small Business Saturday. American Express card members who register their 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.

The study was based on surveys of 500 owners and managers of retail establishments with physical storefronts, kiosks, and restaurants, bars and pubs that are not part of a franchise.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.