With five fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, many small-business owners say they’ll be pulling out all of the stops to get customers into stores during the critical holiday shopping season.

According to the second annual Small Business Saturday Insights Survey, released by the National Federation of Independent Businesses and American Express, more independent merchants will feel the Christmas season creep up as they start their promotional activity earlier than last year.

For many of the small-business owners who are aware of Small Business Saturday, the day will be a part of their promotional calendar. Of those small-business owners incorporating Small Business Saturday into their holiday plans, 70 percent say Small Business Saturday will be helpful in attracting new customers.

Small Business Saturday has become an important fixture on the business calendar for merchants and an increasing number are investing more money and providing additional incentives to reach customers, according to the organizations.

Even as social media and word of mouth remain the top methods for business owners to reach customers with their Small Business Saturday offerings, the number of business owners who say they will rely primarily on paid advertising (TV, radio and newspaper) to promote Small Business Saturday has doubled (18 percent versus 9 percent in 2012).

Discounts continue to be the top incentive used to encourage consumers to Shop Small, but more business owners nationwide are planning to reward customers by offering them a free gift with purchase (33 percent, up from 20 percent in 2012).

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The busy holiday season often demands a more robust workforce; a large number of business owners are looking to their local communities to hire the help they need to meet consumer demand this holiday season.

Nearly 73 percent of local small business owners aware of Small Business Saturday said they make it a point to hire employees from their neighborhoods.

Small Business Saturday, now in its fourth year, falls between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and serves as the traditional kickoff to the holiday season for independent retailers and restaurateurs.

The day was created in response to small business owners’ most pressing need, more customers, and has since grown into an annual celebration of the independent businesses that help boost our local economies.

“Small-business owners are always looking for new ways to creatively promote their products and services — especially in a tough economy,” Dan Danner, NFIB president and CEO, said in a press release. “Small Business Saturday is a reminder of how important the small-business sector is to our economy and why it’s so important to Shop Small all year around.”


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.  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 six. The study was conducted anonymously via telephone by Redshift Research from Oct. 4 to 16 of this year.

About Small Business Saturday

Nov. 30 marks the fourth 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 was created in 2010 in response to small business owners’ most pressing need: more customers.

Source: American Express