The holiday shopping season has begun, and you might be planning on doing more shopping on Cyber Monday, but what about Small Business Saturday?
Wedged between the two mega-shopping holidays, Small Business Saturday is a chance to get discounts on unique goods and support your local business community. There are promotions, trunk shows, and even balloons, but it's surprising that this sales day doesn't have more of a following.
In a recent survey of 2,472 DealNews readers, only 35% said they planned to hit their local Main Street on Small Business Saturday. Another 28% of you weren't even sure what it was. Well, here you can learn all about Small Business Saturday and how to snag the best deals — and maybe this year, you'll want to head down the street for your holiday shopping.
So, What Is Small Business Saturday?
Started by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is a relatively new shopping holiday with a big purpose: to drive money into local economies.
To get local businesses and communities involved, American Express developed the Neighborhood Champions program. The program provides free merch, such as tote bags, banners, and yes, balloons, to community managers who sign up and commit to promoting the holiday.
Businesses can sign up with the Neighborhood Champions program or participate by offering flash sales, coupons, and other deals on the day, which falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving every year.
Are the Deals Worth It?
Small Business Saturday has a community twist, though the sales are still the primary reason many people head out on the weekend. Since it is a localized holiday, sales vary by area, but the deals can be big.
For example, Boulder, Colorado has hosted Winter Sidewalk Sale events in its downtown. Many retailers in the area are planning to offer in-store discounts as well, like 10% to 15% off all furniture at Clutter and 25% off select jewelry at Earthwood Gallery.
The deals don't stop at retailers, either. We've seen fitness centers, spas, and even dentists' offices signing up to participate.
But the deals might stop at the local level. In the past, American Express has offered statement credits and other promotions to Amex holders who shop on Small Business Saturday, but according to the company's FAQs, the promotion won't be offered this year.
"This year we are not offering a statement credit offer for Card Members on Small Business Saturday … (but are instead) increasing the support and resources we provide to help small business owners market the day within their communities and truly make it their own," the company states.
What About Local Artisans?
The shopping spree isn't limited to retailers with physical stores. Last year, for example, Etsy partnered with the Shop Small movement to help local Etsy sellers take part in the day.
Etsy sellers who wanted to participate could have trunk shows hosted by local retailers. We've checked out the trunk shows in the past and have been impressed by the size of the collections offered, the discounts, and the chance to meet our favorite Etsy mavens in person.
How Do I Find the Best Deals?
It is still early, but merchants are already signing up for local events. You can find out which retailers are participating — and get a snapshot of their deals and trunk shows — by visiting the American Express Shop Small website.
Many cities promote their Small Business Saturday deals on community websites and through local news channels.
You can also get the full scoop from your favorite vendors directly. Many places will post sales flyers in-store in advance. You can find information through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, too. And many stores and local communities are creating Eventbrite events to send out to customers on their mailing lists.
Will This Replace Black Friday?
Don't worry, folks, Black Friday isn't going anywhere. While Small Business Saturday is all about shopping local and Black Friday is all about getting uber-deals at the big-box retailers, it doesn't seem like either sales event is hurting the other, at least not for our readers. In the DealNews survey, 89% of the people who said they planned to shop on Small Business Saturday are also planning to shop on Black Friday, while 91% are planning to shop on Cyber Monday.
And with nearly a week of major sales coming, we might be able to get all our holiday shopping done really quickly this year. What about you? Are you excited for any of your local Small Business Saturday deals this year? Share your thoughts in the comments below.