Independent retailers are hoping to cash in on Small Business Saturday, which boosted turnover for locally-run stores by millions of pounds last year.
Small Business Saturday, which will be celebrated on 6 December, enjoyed a successful UK debut last year after gaining recognition in the US.
According to research by campaign supporter American Express, last year 43% of UK shoppers out shopping on the day had specifically chosen to buy from local independent businesses because of Small Business Saturday, spending an average of £33 and generating £468m.
A national ad campaign, including 30-second TV spots, digital, radio, social and out of home, is calling on shoppers to “Think Big” and “Shop Small”.
American Express will run a promotion from 6-21 December offering card members £5 credit when they spend £10 or more at participating small businesses.
Binny Amin, of Londis Blean in Kent, said he would be promoting 10-15 local suppliers and producers on the day. “The atmosphere was amazing last year, and we became known for supporting local suppliers and ended up building relationships with other communities. We also gained a few customers because they liked what we do here.”
He said he would be holding tasting sessions and competitions in which customers could win local products. “We are about to start promoting it on social media,” Binny added.
Susan Connolly, of Wiltshire retailer Connolly Spar, said she was putting up posters and encouraging other local retailers to get involved. “It’s a fantastic concept and could really make a difference in rural areas. It’ll encourage people to shop more locally, and not just on December 6.”
However, she was concerned the event needed a higher profile. “More needs to be done to publicise it,” she said.
Sunder Sandher, of One Stop Leamington Spa, also bemoaned the lack of communication sent out.
“I’m doing some marketing for it and we’ll do something on the day, I’m just not quite sure what yet. It’s growing in the US and in areas of London - we just need to make it bigger outside the capital.”
Rav Garcha, four stores in the West Midlands
“We turned over an extra £1,000 last year without even promoting Small Business Saturday. It makes people aware of small businesses and what we’re all about.”
Harj Dhasee, Nisa Mickleton, Gloucestershire
An American import
Small Business Saturday originally began in the US in 2010, before drawing the attention of shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna, who spearheaded the UK campaign last year. However, it went on to enjoy cross-political party support.
Small Business Saturday UK is described as a grassroots, non-political, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities.
The campaign aims to have a lasting impact on small businesses.