By Nina Anthony, Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Whenever I have out-of-town guests visiting me in Taos, New Mexico, I always take them to the shops around historic Taos Plaza, Bent Street, Kit Carson Road, Doña Luz and the stretch along Paseo del Pueblo Norte that’s lined with boutique shops and restaurants. I’m always amazed at all the great items I find – from unique books and studio-crafted jewelry to cool clothing and shoes, cookware, home décor and of course, a plethora of fine crafts and fine art. Inevitably, with a pang of guilt, I tell the shop owner, “You have amazing stuff here! I need to visit your store more often!” I am making a concerted effort to do that starting this holiday shopping season.
In an age of global e-commerce markets and Big Box deals, it can be hard for small businesses to compete for the attention of consumers like me. For the fourth year in a row, American Express hopes to shift the holiday shopping mindset – at least for a day – with Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country.
In just three years, this single day has grown into a nationwide year-round Shop Small® movement that millions of individuals, businesses, and communities have embraced.
There are many ways to participate in Small Business Saturday
If you’re a business owner, leverage the support of the Small Business Saturday website, which offers free resources to help you gear up for the big day. You can download a free Small Business Saturday Marketing Toolkit that includes a variety of digital and in-store marketing materials such as:
- – Printable signs and decals for your store
- – Downloaded logos and images for your website
- – Customizable materials including social media and email templates
You’ll also find a downloadable PDF of tips to help you rally your community for Small Business Saturday
As one of four Premier Partners of Small Business Saturday, Twitter is offering a free $100 advertising credit to businesses building their presence on the social media platform to help promote the event and their business, plus a tool kit filled with tips for writing Tweets to engage your followers. Be sure to include the #ShopSmall hashtag in your tweets.
If you’re offering Shop Small specials, “Like” the Small Business Saturday Facebook page and post your discount on their timeline. Consumers use the page to search for participating SBS merchants in their community and the page’s fan base gives you exposure to more than 3 million people who like SBS’s Facebook page.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses is offering to promote Small Business Saturday businesses for free on their website. Simply submit information about your business via a form on their website and they’ll promote your business on the NFIB.com website and in front of the eyes of their 188,000+ Facebook fans, and 53,000+ Twitter followers.
If you’re a consumer, do your best to shift your shopping habits from the Big Box culture. Don’t succumb to the hustle and bustle pressure of getting the best Black Friday deals – let alone turning your Thanksgiving holiday into a frenzied day of shopping. Slow down. Savor your meal and your down time with friends and family. Then, get out on Saturday and support small business retailers in your community.
Look for Shop Small decals in store windows and ask the merchant if they’re offering any specials. Several Taos retailers offer a year-round “locals discount” and many stores will do their best to match prices of the behemoth brands and online retailers. In fact, I attended a local Meet and Greet mixer hosted by the Taos Chamber of Commerce last week at Moby Dickens bookstore where co-owner, Jay Moore, announced that their new e-commerce website has been programmed to auto-adjust their prices to compete with prices offered at Big Box retailers. “Now there’s no need to shop at ‘the Jungle’ anymore,” proclaimed Moore proudly. As a bibliophile who loves to buy books for myself and for gifts, I was thrilled to hear that and will be happy to give my money to support a local business and the Taos economy.
I hope you’ll join me and millions of other Americans across the country in supporting small businesses in your local community on Small Business Saturday and throughout the year.