Key takeaways

  • When is Small Business Saturday this year? Mark your calendar for November 25
  • Small Business Saturday 2022 enticed more than 120 million people to shop, resulting in $17.9 billion in revenue
  • Leveraging your website, social media channels and partnerships with other small businesses can help you take advantage of the shopping holiday this year

From Black Friday through to Cyber Monday, the weekend after Thanksgiving marks the biggest retail days of the year. Big box stores slash prices and e-commerce sites offer deep discounts. But if you’re a small business, dropping your price tags to try and keep up could put you in a tight position.

Fortunately, since 2010, shoppers have celebrated a date dedicated to small businesses like yours. On Small Business Saturday, you have the chance to engage with shoppers who are eager to buy and similarly eager to support local, independent stores. If you want to use this opportunity to your company’s advantage, we have some tips.

Benefits of Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday 2022 came second only to Black Friday in terms of the number of in-person shoppers, according to the National Retail Federation. More than 63 million people turned out to shop at physical locations, and another 58 million shopped online.

More good news coming out of Small Business Saturday: According to a new survey from Bankrate, more shoppers plan to hit Small Business Saturday than Black Friday. In other words, the intent to support small businesses is high on the upcoming shopping holiday.

It was more than just good intentions, too. Shoppers showed up to support small businesses to the tune of nearly $18 billion last year.

Long story short, the big benefit of participating in Small Business Saturday lies in drawing in shoppers with a high intent to buy and an interest in supporting local, independent companies like yours.

How to make the most of Small Business Saturday 2023

When is Small Business Saturday in 2023? On November 25. That means you have some time to put a plan in motion to capitalize on the major shopping holiday. Here are a few suggestions to help with that.

Plan ahead

Half of holiday shoppers have already started their holiday gift hunt, but some might be waiting to pull the trigger until the discounts and promotions of the Thanksgiving shopping holidays land.

To be ready to strike when the iron is hot, make your Small Business Saturday plan now. That might mean going through inventory to figure out what you have in excess so you can crunch the numbers on marking down those prices. It might mean talking with your staff about who can be available to come in to field the high number of in-person shoppers you can expect that day.

The clock is ticking, so start building your plan now.

Update your website

While a lot of Small Business Saturday shoppers physically go to stores, a fair chunk shop online, too. As a result, it’s time to get your website in top shape. First up, make sure it works well on mobile devices since that segment of online shoppers is on the rise.

Also make sure your online shop accurately reflects your actual inventory and that adding items to cart and checking out is an easy, user-friendly process.

Finally, consider adding some Small Business Saturday elements to your site, like a banner on your homepage or a blog about specials you plan to run. American Express — which founded Small Business Saturday back in 2010 — offers free marketing materials you can leverage.

Get on the map

AmEx also maintains a Small Business Saturday map of places shoppers can support in celebration. If you want to get on it so people can easily find you, make sure to add your listing. You’ll have to meet some requirements like accepting American Express cards for the past 12 months and not being a part of a franchise with more than 250 stores.

Provide Small Business Saturday incentives

Your small business might not be able to offer the deep discounts big retailers promote, but you can likely find ways to reward shoppers on Small Business Saturday. You might give a raffle ticket to every shopper who spends $25 or more, for example, then raffle off a couple of gift cards. Or you might serve food or drinks in-store to deliver a special shopping experience.

You may also want to open earlier or stay open longer and offer curbside pickup to cater to the maximum number of shoppers.

And if you can run any sales, now’s absolutely the time. This could be a great chance to offload any stagnant inventory before the new year.

Take advantage of social media

You don’t want to put a bunch of work into prepping for Small Business Saturday only to have no one show. Here, social media can go a long way.

Turn to your channels to spread the word about anything you’re offering, from sales to special shopping experiences. You might want to post photos of the products you plan on highlighting to get people excited to turn out and shop.

As you post, use hashtags like #ShopSmall and #SmallBusinessSaturday. These can help consumers who want to support local, independent businesses find you.

You can find more tips at the #ShopSmall Accelerator from American Express.

Take advantage of local media

Reach out to your local media outlets to see if they’re planning any Small Business Saturday content. If so, offer to be interviewed — or even to contribute a piece.

If they don’t have anything in the pipeline, recommend it. You could offer to write an article about the benefits of Small Business Saturday, which include more money staying in the community when you shop small. According to the American Independent Business Alliance, for every $100 spent at an independent small business, almost $53 stays in the community, compared to almost $14 when you spend at big box stores.

Using local media outlets to get the word out can help you boost shopper turnout, and it won’t add any extra busyness to your plate on the actual shopping day.

Uplift other small business owners

Partnering with other local small business owners can help you all maximize your returns on Small Business Saturday.

You might create a map of local shops and restaurants that you can all hand out to shoppers. You could host a block party and have other businesses near you offer food and drink to everyone who comes out. You might even give people a bingo card that they can get stamped by participating businesses, and then redeem for a discount if they complete a full row.

AmEx also features and supports Neighborhood Champions — small business owners who help bring local companies and shoppers together. You may already have a Champion from Small Business Saturday 2022 or prior years. If you don’t and you’re interested in spearheading efforts in your community, make sure to apply.

Bottom line

Small Business Saturday is a chance for you to get your small business in front of the millions of shoppers who turn out to support independent, local businesses on the big day. And it’s a chance for you to cash in on the approximately $18 billion they historically spend on this day alone.

When is Small Business Saturday 2023? Coming up on November 25, so mark your calendar and start planning now.

Frequently asked questions

  • Small Business Saturday capitalizes on the shopping rush that comes after Thanksgiving, but it gives small businesses a way to compete against the hefty discounts big retailers usually offer. This day is dedicated to local, independent companies, so shoppers focus less on savings and more on supporting their community.
  • In 2023, Small Business Saturday falls on November 25. If 2022 gives us any indication of what to expect, it will mean more than 120 million shoppers turn out and spend nearly $18 billion.
  • On Small Business Saturday 2022, there were 63.4 million people who turned out to shop in-store and 58 million who shopped online, per the National Retail Federation.