Ecommerce store shoppers

People shop for small businesses on Saturdays for the most unique gifts and the fair helps retailers find them

November 27 is Small Business Saturday, the officially recognized shopping holiday sponsored by American Express, now in its 12th year. Small Business Saturday is the flagship event of the American Express Shop Small movement, which has now run for a year, to support independent small businesses around the world.

“This marks the first full year that we’ve made a sustained effort to Shop Small throughout the year, not just for a day,” said Walter Frye, vice president of global brand management for American Express. .

“We’ve committed over $ 200 million, including specials and incentives, to motivate our customers to go out and buy small. And this year, we’re launching new initiatives to help attract more business to small businesses, ”he continues.

Between Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, Small Business Saturday had an impressive run, bringing more customers to shop during the nation’s biggest holiday shopping weekend. He even gained the support of Congress and the president in 2011.

With a stated goal of driving $ 100 billion in reported consumer spending to small business on Small Business Saturday from 2021 to 2025, this year’s event and the rest of the season is more critical than ever to keeping small businesses afloat in 2022.

Some 78% of small businesses surveyed said that vacation sales will impact their ability to continue in business next year, with more than half saying vacation sales must be better or better than they are. average to be successful.

If consumers do their part – 80% of consumers say they’re likely to shop for small things this holiday season – small businesses will get their wish.

New this year

To give small businesses a head start for the holidays, American Express has expanded its Shop Small Studio where merchants can download posters, social media posts, signage and marketing materials to help them grab attention. in their communities.

The company is also launching a new grants program in partnership with Main Street America to support underrepresented small businesses and is working with Showfields to showcase black-owned businesses online during the holidays and in a pop-up store in Los Angeles.

Google joins the Shop Small movement

Additionally, Google is supporting the Shop Small movement this year to help small businesses optimize their ecommerce capacity and showcase their products in Google search results.

“This is part of a much larger effort where we are partnering with Google to roll out more of their services to our merchants,” says Frye. “Together, we are working to help small businesses grow their digital footprint and drive more sales through these channels. E-commerce is going to be a very important strategy for these businesses in the future. “

The two companies have also commissioned local artists from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston to create purchasable murals that will feature more than 25 purchasable products available only from local businesses. These IRL murals will be on display across town, and shoppers will be able to use the Google Lens app to shop from their phones.

Unique products are the strength of independent retailers

Main Street retailers have long believed, and the latest American Express survey confirms, that offering customers unique products they can’t find elsewhere is their greatest competitive advantage over big box stores, chains. national retailers and to Amazon.

Some 79% of consumers surveyed agreed that they prefer to seek out small businesses over large retailers for their holiday shopping. When they want something special not just as a gift, but any time of the year, independent retailers are where they are looking.

With all the worries about supply chain shortages, independent retailers have an added advantage this year. Although 45% of small businesses say it takes longer to receive products, only 10% struggle to get enough stock.

However, as specialty retailers’ traditional source for finding new products – trade shows – has been disrupted by the pandemic, their supply problem is not so much receiving the items ordered, but finding new products unique to them. sell that will get customers excited.

Window of opportunity

In the breach comes the Make Online Wholesale Market.

“We launched Faire in 2017 with a simple vision: to create a wholesale marketplace that would help small brands and retailers come together to compete on a more level playing field with Walmart and Amazon,” said the co-founder and CEO Max Rhodes.

Faire reports that he has sold over 125 million products in the past year. It gives 300,000 retailers access to products from more than 40,000 brands. Its sales have more than tripled year over year, bringing annual sales volume to over $ 1 billion in less than five years.

Unique in the wholesale business, Faire also offers free returns and refunds for a first order from a brand that disappoints the retailer. And as a special boon for specialty retailers, it allows them to search for products that cannot be found on Amazon.

Faire’s expansion into Europe this year is particularly important for US specialty retailers. Doing allows US retailers to source rare and never-before-seen products from around the world. Likewise, US companies can access global retailers with their merchandise.

Until October, Faire reports having delivered some 100,000 first orders between North American and European companies. And it eliminates the friction of cross-border trade by absorbing the costs of import duties and customs fees.

Doing isn’t letting grass grow under its feet as it takes advantage of pandemic-related opportunities for retailers and brands to connect. The Company Just Announced New $ 400 Million Series G Funding Round, bringing its total valuation to $ 12.4 billion.

“We believe Faire will transform the global wholesale market,” said Anouk Dey of Durable Capital Partners, a new investor in this round.

New traditions

After the almost two disrupted years of life as usual, let alone business as usual, everyone is eager to get back to normal, but most agree that it won’t be the old normal.

People’s needs and expectations have changed in all areas of their lives. These changes call for new traditions. About two-thirds of consumers polled by American Express said they were looking for new places where they could establish new holiday traditions.

American Express strives to make small businesses this place, not only for shopping this holiday season, but to make Shop Small a tradition throughout the year. Google is joining him in strengthening the digital footprint of small businesses.

And Faire is helping Main Street retailers get off the treadmill of attending multiple trade shows looking for special and unique products that will entice and encourage shoppers to frequent their stores, not to mention the savings in time, money and money. expansive roaming. aisles of lounges.

After the pessimism of the past two years, specialty retailers have reason to be optimistic this holiday season. Having partners as powerful as American Express, Google, and Faire supporting their cause, they should be able to achieve more than their share of the 8.5% to 10.5% increase in vacation sales predicted. National Retail Federation.