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With an Eye Towards Discount Offers, Small Merchants Expect Holiday Sales Boost from Small Business Saturday, According to NFIB/AXP Research

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, more small-business owners are making Small Business Saturday an integral factor in their holiday sales plans. According to the inaugural Small Business Saturday Insights Survey, released today by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and American Express, 46 percent of independent merchants plan to incorporate Small Business Saturday as part of their holiday strategy, and the majority (67 percent) of them say they will offer discounts on November 24th.

Of those small business owners planning to promote Small Business Saturday, 80 percent expect a year-over-year boost in sales on that day, and discounts and special offers for consumers are one of the key incentives to drive consumers to ‘shop small’.

Small Business Saturday falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and serves as the traditional kick off to the holiday shopping season for independent retailers and restaurateurs. The day was created in response to small business owners' most pressing need: more customers.

“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,” said NFIB CEO Dan Danner. “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.”

While many small business owners will be focusing on driving value to customers through discounts, there are a number of ways that they are planning to take advantage of the opportunity to drive consumers to “shop small.” According to the Small Business Saturday Insights Survey:

  • 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; and,
  • 20 percent will give away free items with purchase.

The Small Business Saturday Insights Survey was created to provide a window into the 2012 holiday planning for small business owners. Other survey findings include:

  • 81 percent say Small Business Saturday would be more effective if their communities came together and hosted events;
  • 34 percent say Small Business Saturday is the most important shopping day during holiday season, compared to 24 percent who cited Black Friday and 14 percent who cited Cyber Monday (37 percent said they were all equally important);
  • 28 percent intend to increase the number of employees who will work on Small Business Saturday; and,
  • 87 percent will be active in social media channels to promote Small Business Saturday:
    • 96 percent of those will be using Facebook (33 percent will use Twitter, 15 percent will use Google+ and 15 percent will use Pinterest).

“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 remains committed to helping all small business owners amplify their Small Business Saturday promotional activity. For the third year in a row, American Express is offering a merchant toolkit on www.ShopSmall.com that includes:

  • Free Downloadable Marketing Materials – This Small Business Saturday, business owners will have turnkey assets that they can customize to better promote their businesses. These tools (available at www.ShopSmall.com/marketing-resources) include:
    • Online banners and logos – Digital offerings to promote small businesses on their blogs, websites or anywhere else online;
    • Signage – Two 11”x17” pieces of signage (which can be professionally printed for free at FedEx Office® if they choose to take advantage of FedEx’s offer) to help attract customers in-store or around town. Small business owners can visit shopsmall.com/fedexoffice to access the Small Business Saturday posters and see the FedEx Offer Terms. FedEx Office will also provide additional discount printing offers to small business owners when they pick up their posters;
    • Social media and email templates – Preloaded posts, blog examples, tweets and emails to help drive traffic;
  • Free Geo-Targeted Online Advertising – New this year, qualifying small business owners can personalize an online geo-targeted ad – to appear on a number of online advertising platforms– to reach consumers in their area. Small business owners can find out if they qualify and learn more at: www.ShopSmall.com/business-advertising Free Ads are available through November 19, 2012 or while supplies last. Media Inventory is limited. Terms of Participation apply to small business participation;
  • Success Stories Small business owners can get inspired by what other entrepreneurs did last year to make Small Business Saturday a success. Success stories include a “What We Did” and “The Results” section and are available here: www.ShopSmall.com/success-stories;
  • “Rally Your Community” – A new section of the site (www.shopsmall.com/#involve_community) designed to connect consumers and small businesses as well as inspire local events on Small Business Saturday.

In addition, American Express is providing small businesses access to free tools and offers to attract customers beyond Small Business Saturday. A small business can use these tools and offers to:

  • Easily create a Facebook business page;
  • Enhance its Facebook business page with customizable professional templates by Pagemodo;
  • Create a customized website through Yola;
  • Create a YouTube video to market its business with My Business Story by Google and American Express;
  • Get a Twitter “Follow” button for its website;

More information can be found at the “Free Biz Tools” tab on www.facebook.com/ShopSmall.

For the second year running, FedEx gave away $1 million worth of American Express Shop Small Gift Cards, each worth $25, to consumers via Facebook (www.facebook.com/fedex). This year, winners of the 40,000 gift cards were selected at random from among all eligible entrants, and entrants will be notified of their status and provided with a coupon to save $10 on a $20.00 FedEx Express shipment via email on or about November 9. Cards will be mailed to the winners for delivery by November 21. There are no consumer fees of any kind associated with the American Express Shop Small Gift Card. For additional information on the FedEx Gift Card give-away, visit fedex.com/giftcard.

About the Survey

The Small Business Saturday Insights survey was conducted 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. The sample was collected using lists of retail establishments. In order to qualify, all establishments had to have fewer than 100 employees. No quotas were established for this criterion, in order to allow for a natural representation of retailers. The average number of employees of all establishments in the survey was 5.7 (with the vast majority falling in the 0-5 range). The study was conducted anonymously via telephone by Redshift Research between September 25th and October 12th, 2012. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.38%, at the 95% level of confidence.

About Small Business Saturday

November 24th marks the third annual Small Business Saturday, a day to support the local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country. Small Business Saturday (SBS) was created in 2010 in response to small business owners' most pressing need: more customers. In 2011, more than 2.7 million Facebook users, 230 public and private organizations, 75 corporations and elected officials in all 50 states and Washington D.C. declared their support for SBS. Last year, more than 500,000 small business owners leveraged an online tool or promotional materials for SBS and 15,000 businesses signed up for free Facebook advertising to promote their products and services in the run up to SBS. American Express is the founding partner of SBS.

About NFIB

NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C., and all 50 states. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists sends their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information about NFIB is available online at www.NFIB.com/newsroom.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50471467&lang=en

Contacts:

M Booth
Matt Hantz, 212-539-3276
or
NFIB
Cynthia Magnuson-Allen, 202-314-2036
or
American Express
Scott Krugman, 212-640-3244
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