It’s time again for Small Business Saturday, which is celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in the United States. (This year: Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017.) The day is intended to encourage American shoppers to consider small retailers and merchants as they think of their holiday shopping. It comes as an answer to the Friday after the U.S. Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday of November) called Black Friday and the following Monday deemed Cyber Monday. Both of those days have come to be associated with discounts and promotions at large retail chains and e-commerce websites.
A brief history of Small Business Saturday
On the SmallBusiness.com WIKI, you can find a brief history of the seven-year history of Small Business Saturday. Below is a timeline of some of the ways the day has progressed over the last few years.
2010 | Small Business Saturday was created and sponsored by American Express, who registered the URL SmallBusinessSaturday.com and registered the trademark for the term Small Business Saturday. The company also created a Facebook page supporting the event and promoted the event with national television advertising and a broad array of public relations activities.
As part of the 2010 promotion, the first 10,000 small business owners who signed up to participate received $100 worth of free Facebook advertising, and the first 200,000 American Express cardholders who pledged to use their credit cards on Small Business Saturday to support small businesses received a $25 credit.
2011 | Beginning in 2011, the Small Business Saturday Coalition was started as a means for small business development groups, along with federal, state and location governments and associations, could participate collaboratively.
2013 | Beginning in 2013, American Express began to use another trademarked advertising tagline, “Shop Small,” in its Small Business Saturday promotions. The tagline enables the company to extend the marketing efforts surrounding Small Business Saturday into other parts of the year.
2014 | A new promotional aspect of 2014 included an interactive map for participating businesses that accept American Express cards. (See below)
2015 | In 2015, American Express produced and ran TV and online commercials promoting Small Business Saturday featuring the Muppets.
Directory and map of participating small businesses
While any small business can participate in Small Business Saturday, American Express has an interactive directory of small businesses that can be searched by location. A link to it can be found here. The map and other American Express promotions are available only to small businesses that accept the American Express card.
Can small businesses that don’t accept American Express cards promote Small Business Saturday?
While Small Business Saturday is a registered trademark of American Express, the company has aggressively sought endorsements and collaborative marketing sponsorship and support from other corporations and from federal, state and local governments and organizations. The company makes Small Business Saturday promotional material available to any small business, with additional opportunities for its customers and cardholders. Millions of small business retailers, merchants and restauranteurs have benefitted from the promotion. In other words, until American Express provides a reason to believe otherwise, any small business should be able to join in the celebration and promotion. (We’re guessing the trademark is intended as a message to large corporations.)