How Much Does Small Business Saturday Help Independent Enterprises?

For years, Black Friday stood alone in the post-Thanksgiving surge of gift purchases until it was joined by Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday, but still dominates the proceedings for shoppers looking to score the best deals on the hottest holiday items. That may lead many to wonder exactly how profitable the latter new promotional day actually is for independent companies.

Small Business Saturday, it should be noted, was started by American Express, and the information the credit card giant gives out about the promotion can be a little spotty, according to a report from Bloomberg Businessweek. A recent poll by the lender and payment processor found that consumers who said they’d heard of Small Business Saturday spent $5.5 billion on that day last year, and more than three in four were planning to shop at these smaller enterprises on the same date this year.

Is there cause for skepticism?
Of course, that doesn’t account for those who would have shopped at small businesses even when the promotion didn’t exist, the report said. And while AmEx offers its cardholders incentives for making purchases at qualifying companies on this day, some note that the lender also charges the highest swipe fees in the industry, meaning that small businesses that accept payments through its accounts will also probably lose more money over the course of the year than they might have otherwise. For its part, the lender also says that its believes Small Business Saturday is no longer seen as simply one of its promotions, but as an event on par with Cyber Monday – one in which people nationwide are eager to participate, regardless of what credit cards they own.

It may therefore be wise for owners to keep close tabs on their finances during Small Business Saturday to see just how helpful the movement is for them during this time. However, it’s also important that they keep up promotional efforts throughout the holiday season as a means of continually drawing in more customers even after the Saturday event comes to an end. This can significantly help to shore up a company’s bottom line over the course of a whole year, but so too can seeking out more affordable small business insurance policies. Cutting costs for coverage, including general liability insurance or workers’ compensation insurance, can save companies thousands of dollars annually, which can be put to better use in other ways.