On Small Business Saturday, American Express will be giving a sweet deal to customers of small businesses. Those who register their American Express cards, shop at participating businesses, and spend $25 or more using the registered card on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011 will earn a $25 statement credit.
Small business owners and their marketing teams are spreading the word to their customers through in-store signage, fliers, e-mail blasts, Facebook updates, tweets, interviews with local media and more. In addition, many are collaborating with other small businesses including their vendors, referral partners, locally-focused bloggers and shopping-center neighbors to publicize and celebrate the event.
The statement credit itself is compelling. But many small businesses will be sweetening the deal with additional promotions of their own.
Retailers with brick-and-mortar storefronts will be marking the start of the holiday shopping season with storewide sales and special events. Percy’s TV and Appliance in Worcester, Massachusetts, will be featuring door buster items plus an across-the-board sale on most items. Carolina Creations, a fine art and contemporary craft gallery in New Bern, North Carolina, will be hosting a Christmas open house. Guests will be served traditional wassail and coffee cake while they fill out their holiday wish lists. The Nest Egg in Fairfax, Virginia, will be offering gifts with purchase and hourly giveaways throughout the day in partnership with its small business vendors.
How small business is leveraging Small Business Saturday
Service providers, restaurants and e-commerce businesses will also take part in Small Business Saturday with all sorts of packages and deals.
- Free yoga or dance class with purchase of a spa day and mention of the promotion at Spa Lamar in Scottsdale, Arizona.
- $100 discount for customers who enroll in the financial-coaching class,TurnOnMyFinancialLightbulb.com and use a discount code plus three months of free “after class coaching” sessions.
- Free dip sampler at New Town Bistro in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for Amex cardholders who mention the Small Business Saturday promotion.
- 70 percent off coupon code for a Seeds Club subscription from Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC.
- Free shipping with a discount code for online orders from Better Batter Gluten Free Flour, which sells gluten-free flour and packaged mixes.
A few are adding to the excitement by featuring special products.
- Verde, a salad- and wrap-oriented restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, will sell specially designed “Small Business Salads” for $5.00, more than 40 percent discount off its normal price for signature salads.
- Better Batter Gluten Free Flour will be re-launching several products that have been out-of-stock since April.
- Alwaysfits.com, an online seller of whimsical gifts, will include a “Charge It” coin purse with every order over $10.
At least a couple of businesses will be issuing coupon-less offers.
- The Doll House & Toy Store in Scottsdale, Arizona will be giving a 26 percent discount on plush toys (the discount percentage reminds customers that Small Business Saturday is on the 26th of November) through a promotion that will be delivered via a QR code on its mobile website.
- Mata Traders in the Chicago area will have a coupon-less offer at its booth in the Andersonville Galleria, where Mata products will be discounted by 30 percent.
Small Business Saturday is just the beginning
Jonit Bookheim, part-owner and marketing director of fair-trade fashion business Mata Traders, is busy getting the online and retail shop ready for the event.
“We are spreading the word about Small Business Saturday through our website, blog, mailing list, Facebook and Twitter. We will have a special offer on that day of 30 percent off purchase, plus the first 50 orders will get a free gift of a tote bag that says ‘say no to plastic.’ The customer would just use the [discount] code at checkout on our website for the discount. We will also be creating our own YouTube video for the Small Business Saturday competition to win a $5,000 marketing campaign and a front page spot on YouTube the day before Small Business Saturday. “
For Bookheim, some of these promotional efforts are new and she’s not sure what to expect.
“We received $100 in free Facebook ads for signing up with the American Express Small Business Saturday campaign on Facebook. That means that we'll be featured in ads for Small Business Saturday. We have had an increase in “likes” in the last week, but we attribute that to one of our staff members becoming an admin of our page and inviting her friends to like us. We haven't ever advertised on Facebook before, so I'll definitely be watching to see if we get any increase in traffic and likes.”
Like Mata Traders, The Doll House & Toy Store will be involved in Small Business Saturday in many ways. Plus, the seller of miniatures, dolls, and toys will extend an offer beyond the traditional holiday shopping season. Small Business Saturday shoppers will be eligible to earn a $25 bounce back coupon, redeemable with a minimum purchase of $100 from January 1, 2012 to January 31, 2012.
What are your plans for events, special offers, and promotions on Small Business Saturday?
Julie Rains is a senior writer at Wise Bread, a leading personal finance community dedicated to helping people get the most out of their money. Get daily money tips by following Wise Bread on Facebook or Twitter.