Small Business Saturday Success

Josie Leavitt -- November 28th, 2011

This past Saturday American Express sponsored Small Business Saturday for the second time. This is a day when the credit card company encourages people to shop at small businesses by offering a rebate on purchases made with their Amex card. Judging by a 100% increase in our American Express charges, I’d say folks knew about the promotion.

What was so lovely about Saturday was the glee in customers’ faces as I’d ring them up and they’d say, “I’m here for Small Business Saturday. You are my business.” I’d smile back and thank them. It was heartening to see so many new faces on Saturday. People actually thought about what small business to go to and were happy to let us know they’d chosen us.

I think slowly the message is starting to seep in that it’s vital to shop at small businesses. It’s a little sad that American Express doing this promotion has had more of an immediate and positive effect on business than the Shop Local campaign has had. This got me thinking about the power of the message and the size of the voice creating the message.

American Express has had an enormous social media campaign that seems to have reached every shopper in the country. Anyone on Facebook couldn’t have missed it. They made it sound fun and important at the same time. Plus, once you registered your card, there was the lovely rebate awaiting you. I’m not a huge Amex fan, I don’t have one personally and they are expensive for retailers to process, but I loved this promotion. It excited shoppers to spend money and do something good at the same time. This appeared to be a very winning combination on Saturday.

So, my question is: will the Small Business Saturday shoppers realize that everyday should be a Shop Small Business day, even without a rebate? I sure hope so.