Customer Magnetism Review: Small Business Saturday

Customer Magnetism Review is a monthly blog feature. We review various events, websites and products that you might want to check out – or not. It’s our way of keeping you up to date on the Internet’s latest.

1229519_55738725Nestled between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday was a new innovation set in motion this past weekend to help boost the expected sagging seasonal sales of small merchants. With national attention from its creator, American Express, the idea was for people to shop at the local mom and pop stores on Saturday, after they crowded the malls and retail giants for super sales the day before.

It’s difficult to measure the success of Small Business Saturday just yet. Merchants in some towns, like Clintonville, Ohio, reported a comfortable boost. Those in other cities, like a bookstore owner in Decatur, Georgia, said there was not much of a difference. It could be that consumers spent most of their money the day before on irresistible sales. It might be that in its first year, advertising and awareness of the new event was not widespread enough for throngs of people to participate. Another alternative, of course, is that the money is not available to be spent by thrifty consumers who are not quite ready for the holidays.

To encourage the effort, American Express provided a $25 credit to card members pledging to support the movement through its Small Business Saturday website. They also offered $100 in Facebook.com advertising to 10,000 participating merchants. While the extent of its usage has not yet been released, the effort probably didn’t hurt any of the small businesses that promoted themselves through Internet advertising; on Facebook or otherwise. While there is no telling whether Small Business Saturday will be back again next year, it has raised awareness for consumers.

Statistics from Civics Economics, an Austin, Texas consulting firm, say that the larger retail chains keep about 46 percent of its revenue in the local community. Small businesses with one or just a few locations keep 68 percent.

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