Any effort to drive traffic to small business is good to me, even the Small Business Saturday initiative that American Express started in 2010 and is as much about getting American Express more of the holiday spending pie than having Main Street benefit.
The day, coming this weekend during the holiday break, celebrates the efforts of SMBs. More importantly, it employs a host of marketing elements to drive traffic to Main Street.
SMBs that do business with American Express have access to free tools and resources including free in-store signage, social media posts and email templates. They can also view video case studies showing how other small business owners have made the most of the day.
American Express also creates a Shop Small Map for participating Small Business, again open only to those who do business with the global services company.
According to American Express’ second annual Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, awareness of Small Business Saturday among U.S. consumers improved to 44% compared to 34% during the same period a year ago. In addition, 77% of those aware of the day say that they plan to “Shop Small” this year. That equals tens of millions of consumers.
Additional findings from the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights survey include:
· Consumers say they would attend a community event on Small Business Saturday (44%);
· Part of the reason consumers are attracted to small businesses is because they are able to find gifts for people who are hard to shop for (70%);
· One fifth (21%) of consumers said one of the main reasons they patronize small businesses is because they offer better prices; and
· The top five places that consumers plan to shop on Small Business Saturday are food stores (38%), restaurants (37%), clothing stores (35%), bakeries (34%) and gift/novelty stores (31%).
Of course, smart SMBs market well beyond this one day. As written about often in this blog, permission-based mobile databases enable merchants to send messages and offers and bring more customers more often.
Any attempt to make the year’s sales numbers off Small Business Saturday alone is foolish.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program http://Goo.gl/t3fgW, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions