Small Business Saturday survey reveals great expectations

Now in its third year, Small Business Saturday® (SBS) is catching on with merchants across the country and becoming an integral factor in their holiday sales plans, according to a just-released survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB)and American Express. The American shopping holiday falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and serves as the kickoff of the holiday shopping season for independent retailers and restaurants. It has been held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving since 2010 and is set for this coming Saturday, Nov. 24th.

“Research has shown that American consumers have a deep trust in, and admiration for, the small business community. Small Business Saturday gives them a chance to show their appreciation — and help America’s essential job creators in a very real way — by patronizing small shops, restaurants and service providers,” says NFIB CEO Dan Danner in a prepared statement. “And anything that helps with sales is certainly appreciated by small business owners, many of whom have struggled to stay afloat in a rough and uncertain economy.”

The Small Business Saturday Insights Survey reveals that 46 percent of independent merchants surveyed plan to incorporate SBS as part of their holiday strategy. Two-thirds of those businesses say they will offer discounts of some sort to their customers on Nov. 24 to kick off the holiday season and compete with Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

To reach out to their customers and drive sales, 87 percent of the participating small businesses will actively use social media channels, primarily Facebook. A breakdown of the incentives they play to offer customers includes:

  • 46 percent will create coupons for future offers or discounts
  • 25 percent will offer free gift wrapping
  • 23 percent will giveaway prizes or hosts contests
  • 20 percent will give away free items with purchase.

Additionally, a majority of those surveyed (81 percent) indicated that they thought SBS would be even more effective if their business communities collaborated on hosting related events.

“In just three years, Small Business Saturday went from an idea to help Small Business find more customers, to a permanent fixture on the holiday shopping calendar,” said Susan Sobbott, president, American Express OPEN. “According to the research, we are seeing the small business community take ownership of the day and make it their own.”

American Express, which created SBS to help small businesses attract more customers, continues to assist them with their promotional activities, in particular by offering a merchant tool kit on the official SBS website. The kit includes:

  • free downloadable marketing materials like banners, logos, signage and social media/email templates
  • free geo-targeted online advertising (available for a limited time, so sign up soon!)
  • a Rally Your Community section designed to connect consumers and small businesses, and to inspire local events on Small Business Saturday
  • inspirational success stories relating what small business entrepreneurs did last year to make SBS a success.

Again this year, FedEx® is lending a helping hand by giving away $1 million worth of American Express Shop Small Gift Cards in $25 denominations to consumers via Facebook. Winners of the 40,000 gift cards were selected at random from among all eligible entrants, with cards scheduled to arrive by Nov. 21.

The Small Business Saturday Insights survey was conducted in late September and early October among a nationally representative sample of 500 owners/managers of retail establishments with physical storefronts, kiosks and restaurants/bars/pubs that are not part of a franchise and with fewer than 100 employees.

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Beth Longware Duff is a professional editor and award-winning writer whose work on a wide variety of topics has been published in print and electronic media. She currently writes on a wide range of topics dealing with electronic payment processing for Merchant Express. For more great small business resources visit the Merchant Express Resource Center: http://www.merchantexpress.com/resources.htm

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