Small Business Saturday may sit in the middle of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but it was hardly hidden from shoppers this past November 29th, 2014.
From the main streets in towns like Parker, Colorado to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, there was an overwhelming support for local independent businesses on Small Business Saturday, celebrating it’s fifth year. Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010 in response to small business owners’ most challenging obstacle – gaining more customers. As a result, Small Business Saturday was brought to life in an effort to support local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country.
A report from the the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express – the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey – revealed that 88 million consumers “shopped small” on the day, up 14.9 percent from just a year ago. According to the survey, more than two-thirds of the U.S. population were aware of Small Business Saturday (67%). Additionally, of the U.S. consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday, a reported $14.3 billion was spent with independent retailers and restaurants on the day – an increase of 2.1 percent from $14 billion in 2013.
Once again, Small Business Saturday proved to be a bright spot over the first official holiday shopping weekend,” said Denise Pickett, President of American Express OPEN.
Community Support for Small Business Saturday
With small towns, urban cities and countless communities home to small businesses nationwide, Small Business Saturday was thrilled to welcome nearly 3,000 Neighborhood Champions – groups, organizations and communities – that rallied local businesses and created events and activities to celebrate, promote and increase awareness of Small Business Saturday 2014. To help support these activities and the attention generated, premier partners that included FedEx, Eventbrite, Microsoft and Yelp worked with American Express to promote shopping at small businesses for Small Business Saturday.
Photo Credit: Retail Minded
Additionally, 446 companies signed up to become official supporters of the day, 386 advocacy organizations signed up to support the nationwide initiative and more than 610,000 free online tools and materials were accessed by small business owners on ShopSmall.com to help get the word out about Small Business Saturday. On November 29th alone, more than 126,000 tweets were sent in support of the initiative, many using the hashtags #SmallBizSat and #ShopSmall, a 10% increase from the previous year. Facebook also helped raise awareness of the day, with more than 3.3 million Facebook users having “liked” the Small Business Saturday “Shop Small” official Facebook page.
My shop is located in a small town in Texas, so we look forward to Small Business Saturday as a day to get customers out and shopping. This year, we exceeded our 2013 sales by 9%, and our customers loved the special incentives American Express offered them when they used their American Express when shopping small. It increased our American Express purchases by over 20% from 2013. Additionally, we took full advantage of the promotional opportunities Small Business Saturday offered us leading up to the big day, and really felt like we made a dent in not only our store but our community, as well, when it came to raising awareness about shopping small,” explained Cynthia Sutton Stolle, who owns The Silver Barn in Columbus, Texas.
With small businesses like The Silver Barn seeing strong sales in response to Small Business Saturday, it’s no surprise that the day has increased in awareness and consumer participation as each year has passed since it’s creation in 2010. Possibly more exciting, however, is the impact Small Business Saturday has on the entire holiday season – helping to kick-off holiday shopping and remind customers that shopping small is important to communities, businesses and consumers, as well.
Small businesses are critical to the stability of our local communities and growth of our national economy. We are confident that the broad national support for these businesses will continue well beyond November 29th,” Pickett states.
Supporting Pickett in these thoughts is Dan Danner, CEO and President of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the nation’s leading small business association.
More Americans recognize the direct link between shopping locally and stronger communities and that’s an extremely positive result,” said Danner. “We’re delighted by the success of Small Business Saturday but we’re even more excited by the growing commitment among Americans to give small businesses a chance to compete all year round.”
Nicole Leinbach Reyhle is the Author of Retail 101: The Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business from McGraw-Hill.
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