BrainTrust Query: American Express Small Business Saturday – Good for Independent Retailers
Commentary by Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor
Through a special arrangement,
presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail
American Express is holding an event Saturday, Nov.
27 and they want shoppers to party at their local independent bricks & mortar
shop or restaurant. There’s
something in it for everyone: the store, the customer, Facebook users and,
yes, American Express.
Stores: By registering for Amex’s promotion on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday,
stores will receive a $100 credit for taking out a Facebook ad (the
first 100,000 merchants who sign up). Amex also provides a video, articles
and a PDF guide to using social media. Independents can also download
a nifty window sign that shows they are participating. American Express is
also asking people who visit the site to give a ‘shout out’ to their favorite
local business via Twitter #SmallBizSat or their own Facebook page.
American Express customers: Cardholders get a $25 credit to their
account as long as they register their eligible American Express Card at www.smallbusinesssaturday.com prior
to Nov. 27 and use their registered AMEX card to spend $25 or more at participating
small business merchants on Nov. 27. Eligible merchants include any independently
owned small businesses that accepts the American Express Card.
Facebook users: Even if they don’t own the card, if a Facebook
user chooses to "Like" Small Business Saturday, American Express
will donate up to $500,000 to Girls Inc. to teach young women to be
the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
American Express: For years, American Express has been shunned by some
independent businesses due to the discount rate; since their handling charge
is higher than Visa or MasterCard. When I was working in a retail store, the
owner witnessed a customer about to buy nearly a grand of merch with an American
Express card and we had to say, "Sorry, we don’t take AMEX." The
customer left without his purchase. We had American Express the next day. That
owner saw the value of welcoming their affluent card carriers.
This is a great
example of using a promotion to connect with customers using social media.
American Express gets more merchants as a benefit and provides value to their
cardholders. But their message is about how they will help grow
their retail partner’s business. That’s the same message retailers
want to have with their own customers: it’s all about how they can help their
customers do more, get more, be more with their help — not constantly
looking at their customers with dollar signs in their eyes.
Discussion Questions: What do you think of American Express’ Small Business
Saturday promotion? How beneficial is it for independent retailers? Which stakeholder
group do you think will benefit the most/least from the promotion?
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