small business owner putting together gift packages
This year, more and more consumers will be taking their holiday shopping online and seeking out virtual, contactless experiences with businesses. — Getty Images/Eva-Katalin

The holiday season is around the corner, and small businesses everywhere have been pivoting to serve a post-COVID shopping landscape. As consumers are poised to return to brick-and-mortar stores in force this holiday selling season, local mom-and-pop shops, restaurants and service providers can maximize the opportunity by participating in Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday, which takes place on November 27 this year, encourages consumers to support local businesses by shopping small. American Express launched this shopping holiday in 2010, at the height of the Great Recession, as a way of redirecting holiday shopping to local stores. A decade later, it’s observed in all 50 states, and in 2011, the Senate passed a resolution recognizing Small Business Saturday.

Consumers have been more than eager to jump on board and support their local small business community. Last year, the U.S. Small Business Administration reported Americans spent nearly $20 billion on Small Business Saturday, and in the years before that, consumers spent a cumulative $100 billion-plus on this shopping holiday.

For every dollar spent at a small business, American Express estimates an average of $0.67 stays in that business's local community. This has the potential to boost sales during the 2021 holiday season, with many small businesses still working to make up the revenue they’ve lost throughout the pandemic.

[Read more: 7 Ways Your Business Can Get Ready for Black Friday]

Making the most of Small Business Saturday during the pandemic

Small Business Saturday has traditionally been aimed at driving foot traffic to local shops. This year, more and more consumers will be taking their holiday shopping online and seeking out virtual, contactless experiences with businesses.

Here are a few ways to ride the trends and position your business for success this Small Business Saturday.

Get free marketing materials and exposure from American Express

There's an enormous opportunity to reach consumers and increase sales during Small Business Saturday 2021. American Express offers free marketing materials, including posters, emails and social media posts. Small businesses can even add themselves to AmEx's "Shop Small" map and join a national directory of other participating businesses.

Every business, especially those with e-commerce operations, should make sure their websites are up-to-date and mobile-friendly well before Small Business Saturday.

Find and/or host virtual Small Business Saturday events

Small business owners are stronger when they join forces and work together. Across the country, local businesses are hosting virtual Small Business Saturday events, whether they organize them with other businesses or join existing events. Business owners can advertise the occasion, hold online sales and provide special incentives for customers during these events.

Small Business Saturday Event Guides are available to anyone participating in Small Business Saturday activities.

In addition, American Express is offering free Small Business Saturday Event Kits while supplies last. Businesses can check out the Neighborhood Champion Program for Small Business Saturday for more details.

[Read more: How to Sign Up for Small Business Saturday]

Launch social media and email marketing campaigns

Since Small Business Saturday has become a household name across the country, social media and email marketing campaigns focused on this shopping holiday can bring in new customers. Businesses can use hashtags like #SmallBusinessSaturday and #ShopSmall and tag American Express's @shopsmall social media accounts to get noticed online.

Update and optimize your small business website

Every business, especially those with e-commerce operations, should make sure their websites are up-to-date and mobile-friendly well before Small Business Saturday. Reaching consumers online has been key to business success in 2021 and will continue to be throughout this holiday season and beyond.

Explore American Express's content hub for small business tips, trends and tools

American Express publishes a merchant content hub featuring valuable small business resources and expert insights ahead of Small Business Saturday. This landing page, in conjunction with small business publications like CO—, can give you the knowledge and tools you need to attract more customers, streamline your operations and discover new trends that will help you grow.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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Published November 02, 2021