Welcome to our three-part blog series on Amex Shop Small 2018. Over the next few articles, you will get some fantastic tips for the Shop Small season and Small Business Saturday.
PART I: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
In the first part, we will discuss the Shop Small movement and explain everything you need to know to get involved as a customer, as a volunteer or as a small business in this movement.
WHAT IS SHOP SMALL?
Shop Small is a nationwide movement in the United States that celebrates small businesses and helps local communities thrive. By motivating people to purchase from stores run by small businesses during the holiday shopping season, the Shop Small movement enables small businesses to stay vibrant.
Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses and communities across the nation. Small Business Saturday is the cornerstone of American Express’s Shop Small efforts. As a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday that promotes shopping at large retailers and e-commerce stores, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to visit local, small, brick and mortar stores.
Shop Small is not just about buying things from small businesses. It’s also about increasing support for local economies and promoting diverse businesses in your community.
WHEN IS IT?
Shop Small Saturday is celebrated on the Saturday that falls after Thanksgiving in the US. This year Small Business Saturday falls on November 24. If you haven’t started hearing about this year’s Shop Small already, you will soon be seeing the #shopsmall, #SmallBusinessSaturday and other similar hashtags dominating your social media feeds.
To make this event even more appealing, American Express always offers up exciting promotions during the Shop Small season. Now that it's November, you can start taking advantage of their promotions by spending $20 or more at small business stores to get a $10 credit. For more detailed information, check out their official website to learn more about the promotions for this year.
HOW IT STARTED
The Shop Small Movement started in 2010 when small businesses in the USA were feeling the then prevailing economic recession. That year, American Express launched ‘Small Business Saturday’ on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage people to shop at small business stores and to help divert some of the holiday revenue toward small businesses.
In the inaugural year, the city of Boston joined with American Express and National Trust for the Historic Preservation in supporting the nationwide "Small Business Saturday" campaign, designed to spur business for small merchants.
Ironically, Shop Small is getting bigger and bigger - over the years this shopping festival has gained huge momentum among the US population. The only thing that is small about the Shop Small movement now is the size of the businesses that are participating in the movement.
WHO IS IT FOR?
The Shop Small movement is for small business owners, their employees and anyone who wishes to support their community's small businesses.
Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities. They provide jobs, preserve neighborhoods and feed the local economy. The Shop Small movement supports these local small businesses and helps them stay strong.
This nationwide movement is fueled by shoppers, Shop Small organizers (better known as Neighborhood Champions) and small business owners. Everyone comes together to celebrate their local communities because they know how much it matters.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
Shop at Small Businesses - anyone can support the Shop Small movement by simply shopping small on that day. Get up and go out to shop or dine at a small local business. Check out the American Express Shop Small map to find small businesses where you can use your Amex card and support your community.
Spread the word – As a consumer who wants to support small businesses, you can spread the word about Shopping Small to your friends, invite them to shop small along with you, and talk about where you are Shopping Small on social media channels with the hashtag #ShopSmall. This will widen the reach and make your contribution more significant.
Become a Neighborhood Champion – If you would like to get more involved in the Shop Small movement, you can choose to rally for your community by becoming a Neighborhood Champion. Neighborhood champions create at least one community event on Small Business Saturday and invite 10+ small businesses in their communities to participate. This person will also receive Shop Small merchandise such as tote bags, posters, balloons and more from American Express to distribute to small businesses.
Once you register and become a Neighborhood Champion, you can visit the studio to access tons of downloadable materials, how-to videos and ideas to spread the word. Armed with these tools, planning your Small Businesses Saturday events should be a piece of cake.
Get your own small business involved - As a small business owner, promoting your business and getting involved with the Shop Small movement makes a huge impact. Not only will it help promote your business, you may also have the chance to win American Express contests with tantalizing prizes such as a $50,000 business grant or a $5,000 Helloworld Travel voucher. Not bad! To learn more about the contest participation criteria, click here.
Post your Small Business on the Shop Small Map - If you're a small business owner and you choose to participate in the Shop Small movement, you will quite literally be putting yourself on the map - the American Express Shop Small map, that is. Visit the American Express Shop Small official page and update your business details to get posted on the Shop Small map. If you need any more encouragement, consider this: the Shop Small map was viewed over 851 thousand times in 2017, and Amex Card members spent $675 million during the Shop Small season that year.
HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS DURING SHOP SMALL
List your shop on the Shop Small Map - First and foremost, list your shop on the Shop Small map as discussed in the above section.
Email Campaigns and Social Media Campaigns - Focus on attracting customers to your store on Small Business Saturday by promoting your business via email campaigns and social media posts. You can access ready-made templates, posters and other materials in the Studio to aid you in your promotions.
Because no business is the same, American Express’s Studio lets you customize your offline and online marketing materials for Shop Small. Provide details like your business name, preferred color scheme, business location, and request the types of materials you think you'll need for promotion by clicking on this link.
Or, to get ready-made marketing materials for Small Business Saturday, simply provide your email address and sign up for Small Business Saturday® newsletters.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the Shop Small movement and Small Business Saturday, we'll sign off here until our next post which will provide more detail on how to get involved, how to build promotions and marketing materials for your small business, and how to promote your business on social media this coming Small Business Saturday.