American Express Has A ‘Stimulus Package’ For Independent Retailers: It’s Small Business Saturday - Forbes

American Express Has A ‘Stimulus Package’ For Independent Retailers: It’s Small Business Saturday - Forbes


American Express Has A ‘Stimulus Package’ For Independent Retailers: It’s Small Business Saturday - Forbes

Posted: 21 Nov 2020 02:00 AM PST

Small independent retailers are "doomed," said CNBC's Jim Cramer this week. The failure of Congress and the President to pass a second stimulus package puts retail further into the hands of large retailers, like Walmart, Target, Costco, Home Depot, Lowe's and Amazon."

"These companies have picked up a giant amount of allegiance…These companies have wiped out a lot of smaller companies because there's no stimulus," he said, leaving Main Streets across the country full of "empty storefronts."

But when government fails, private enterprise often picks up the pieces and that is just what American Express AXP is doing with its bigger and better than ever Small Business Saturday on November 28.

And this year, Small Business Saturday is just the kickoff of a much larger Shop Small campaign to support small businesses throughout the year and shine the spotlight on how much they contribute to their customers and communities.

"Small Business Saturday started ten years ago to help small businesses come out of the Great Recession," explains Colleen Taylor, president of merchant services at American Express.

"Back then, we thought that was the worst thing that could ever happen to us, but 10 years later, here comes the pandemic. We started planning early in the year to not just make Small Business Saturday a huge one-day success but to encourage people to shop small throughout the whole season," she continues.

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American Express has committed more than $200 million to its Shop Small campaign this year and has organized the support of 100 large companies to provide special offers and services to their small business colleagues. The program is called Stand for Small, and it lets small businesses know that big companies, like AT&T, Amazon, Best Buy BBY , BJs, IBM IBM and Dell, have their backs.

"We are all part of a larger ecosystem. It wasn't hard for us to convince these companies to join us in this effort. They recognize that it's the right thing to do and it's good business too," Taylor shares.

American Express has also incentivized its card members to Shop Small this year, "essentially giving card members additional dollars to shop at small businesses," she adds.

Even before the pandemic, but most especially after it, everyone recognizes the essential role small businesses play in their communities. An American Express economic study found that 67 cents of every $1 spent at a small business stays in the local community.

And nearly 90% of the 1,000+ consumers surveyed by the company in late October said they feel a personal commitment to support small businesses because of the impact of the pandemic.

They recognize that small businesses are owned by their friends and neighbors and employ them too. Some 95% of consumers believe that supporting small businesses unites their community, something desperately needed after this tumultuous year.

To help drive more customers to small businesses, the Shop Small campaign is encouraging people to put a stamp of approval on their favorite places through social media using a #ShopSmall hashtag.

The company estimates these social media endorsements could add up to $197 billion in value to small businesses. Some 80% of the 500 small business owners surveyed find that positive feedback on social media is a significant driver of business, and some 90% of consumers say they are more likely to shop at a small business that friends recommend.

As important as Small Business Saturday is for America's Main Streets – last year it generated a record $19.6 billion is spending – this year American Express wants to turn Shop Small into a social movement to help not just small businesses but the economy at large. The Small Business Administration estimates about 44% of the nation's economy depends upon them.

"Small businesses have been so innovative this year, pivoting to respond to what their customers needed during the pandemic, whether it was curbside pickup, home delivery or getting into e-commerce," Taylor says, noting that 78% also took steps to support their communities by volunteering their time and donating goods and services to local causes.

"There is no one more resilient than the small business owner. If we can support them this season, then they will have the fortitude and wherewithal to make it through 2021," she concludes.

Small Business Saturday is next week—here's how you can give back to local businesses - CNBC

Posted: 20 Nov 2020 12:52 PM PST

While major retailers like Amazon and Target are running month-long holiday deals, you should consider paying it forward and shopping small for gifts this year since your spending can make a big difference for a small business owner.

Roughly three in four (75%) small business owners have said that they need holiday spending to return to normal in order to stay in business in 2021, and almost half (46%) expressed the need for above average spending, according to the American Express Shop Small Impact study.

Thankfully, there are simple actions you can take to support local businesses, such as participating in Amex's 11th-annual Small Business Saturday®, which falls on November 28 this year.

Purchasing gifts from a local shop is more important than ever since many businesses were shuttered this year due to the coronavirus and lost sales.

In order to remain open during the pandemic, the majority (92%) of small business owners have pivoted how they do business, including:

  • Selling on social: 38%
  • Using a third-party platform: 28%
  • Introducing curbside pickup: 46%
  • Offering contactless delivery: 40%

Not only do these changes help keep their businesses afloat, but they also make your shopping experience easier and safer.

If you shop in-store this holiday season, consider using contactless payments whenever it's an option. That can include adding your card to a mobile wallet like Apple Pay, or use a credit card with contactless capabilities. American Express cards have contactless capability, such as the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card.

To start shopping small, visit the Shop Small Map to locate small businesses in your area.

You can even help local businesses without spending anything and opting to post on social media. The study found that the majority of (78%) small business owners say that positive feedback on social media is a significant driver of business and that endorsements on social media may be worth as much as an estimated $197 billion for the U.S. small business economy.

So the next time you plan on shopping, consider visiting your local business — whether that's online, in-person or through contactless services — and sharing your experience on social media. These simple actions can help local shops bounce back and stay in business through the new year.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

This year, Small Business Saturday is more important than ever - Rockford Register Star

Posted: 21 Nov 2020 08:02 AM PST

Mark Grand  |  Special to the Register Star

It's easy to forget, but small business optimism was historically strong heading into 2020. 

COVID-19, of course, changed things. Social distancing meant retailers and restaurants had to change how they did business. Some had little choice but to close temporarily, and some of those businesses will never reopen. 

That's why we need to shop local on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season. 

Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, was created 10 years ago in response to another crisis, the Great Recession. The goal was to get people to bypass the national chains on the first weekend of the shopping season and support locally owned stores and restaurants. 

And it worked. Last year, Americans spent a record $19.6 billion on Small Business Saturday, according to a survey from American Express and my association, the National Federation of Independent Business. 

We need to try to keep the momentum going.  

Small business owners are doing everything they can to get through this, but it won't be easy. NFIB surveyed its members nationwide last month and found that 19% of them think they'll have to close in seven months to a year unless the local economy improves; 15% said three to six months, while 3% warned they might be able to last only a month or two. 

We can't afford to let that happen.  

Small business is the heart and soul of Illinois' economy, accounting for 99.6% of all businesses in the state and a net increase of 20,410 jobs statewide in 2019, according to the Small Business Administration. 

We need small businesses, and small businesses need us. 

NFIB is asking Congress to approve additional financial assistance for small businesses, but there are little things you and I can do that can make a big difference: 

We can shop local and shop small – in person, by phone, or online – and take advantage of local delivery or curbside pickup. 

We can also buy gift cards for local businesses. Supporting them now helps them stay in business so we can use the cards later. 

Supporting local shops and restaurants throughout the holiday season and beyond will lessen the financial impact this outbreak is having on our communities. Small business is the engine that drives our economy, so, when we help small businesses, we help everyone.   

Mark Grant is the Illinois state director of the National Federation of Independent Business.  

York business owners hope for a boost during next weekend's Small Business Saturday - WGAL Susquehanna Valley Pa.

Posted: 20 Nov 2020 02:50 PM PST

Susquehanna Valley business owners are gearing up for Small Business Saturday, which is Nov. 28.Jen Swanner owns a combination playhouse and toy store in York. Since reopening after the COVID-19 shutdown in the spring, Swanner said, the shop has seen just a fraction of its customers from before the pandemic."We're hoping that Small Business Saturday is really going to give us a big boost to help us keep going and help us get through the holidays," she said.Downtown Inc. is encouraging local shopping. Executive Director Elaine Bonneau called on the community to show its support."You think about the families that are supported by these small businesses. Also, they are contributing to the work force and employing people locally," she said.

Susquehanna Valley business owners are gearing up for Small Business Saturday, which is Nov. 28.

Jen Swanner owns a combination playhouse and toy store in York. Since reopening after the COVID-19 shutdown in the spring, Swanner said, the shop has seen just a fraction of its customers from before the pandemic.

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"We're hoping that Small Business Saturday is really going to give us a big boost to help us keep going and help us get through the holidays," she said.

Downtown Inc. is encouraging local shopping. Executive Director Elaine Bonneau called on the community to show its support.

"You think about the families that are supported by these small businesses. Also, they are contributing to the work force and employing people locally," she said.

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