American Express has committed more than $200 million to help get customers to shop with small businesses. An additional $10 million will fund a grant program dedicated to supporting U.S. Black-owned small businesses in recovery.
According to survey data conducted for the small business recovery research by American Express, 62 percent of U.S. small business owners need to see spending return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year in order to stay in business.
“We know the impact that movements like Shop Small and Card Member offers can have in helping small businesses thrive,” said Walter Frye, vice president of global brand engagement and design at American Express. “Over the past decade, Small Business Saturday has helped drive over $120 billion in reported consumer spend at local businesses in the U.S. Our previous research also shows that for every dollar spent at a small business, $0.67 stays in that local community.”
To encourage consumers to shop with small businesses, American Express U.S. card members will receive $5 back when they spend $10 or more at eligible U.S. small merchants online, curbside, or in-store pickup. The offer is available up to 10 times now through Sept. 20, 2020.
“As states begin to phase into reopening, consumers are especially eager to shop small and support the businesses that serve as the fabric of their communities,” said Frye. “Because travel has also been restricted, consumers are finding new appreciation for their hometowns and everything that makes them unique. Not only do 95 percent of consumers say small businesses bring more value to their community than just goods and services but 71 percent of consumers also say they are optimistic that they will be able to shop freely once health and safety guidelines say so.”
The company’s small business recovery research found nearly 25 percent of small business owners have stopped paying themselves a salary in order to remain open during the pandemic, though staying open until 2021 is still uncertain. Many U.S. small businesses have adapted new operations in the current climate, though the survey showed 65 percent of U.S. business owners responding having “regulars” return and begin making purchases again would be most helpful as they recover.
Still, 78 percent of U.S. small business owners told American Express they are “optimistic about surviving COVID-19 impacts” and 80 percent said they expect to see customers return when it is safe. And 56 percent of small business owners agreed that they have been invigorated by the way its community has rallied to support them.
At the same time, 95 percent of consumers said small businesses bring value to the community beyond goods and services with 85 percent of consumers saying small businesses make a neighborhood feel like home. And consumers are actively looking for ways to shop small and support the community. In fact, 63 percent of consumers said they will prioritize shopping small when businesses reopen.
“For many ‘regulars,’ small businesses are like a second home,” said Frye. “Think about your local coffee shop. The barista knows your name, they know your order and they know when you’re having a good or bad day. Let’s be honest, that relationship is an important part of your life. Our survey showed that owners believe that the return of these individuals will have the most impact on their businesses and that’s one of the reasons we’ve designed our spend offer to allow up to 10 redemptions. We want to encourage our card members to visit their everyday favorites to spark the much-needed foot traffic small businesses need during this time.”
For More WWD Business News: