“We have heard from small businesses that what they need most right now is customers back,” Elizabeth Rutledge, CMO at American Express, said in an article on CNBC.com. “With this in mind we are launching our largest-ever Shop Small offer and are rallying our global community of cardmembers to support their local businesses and shop small.”

The slogan of this new American Express Shop Small promotion is “From take-out to shopping online, every time you Shop Small, you are supporting the small businesses at the heart of your community.”  Card holders who sign up for the program will receive a $5 credit on every $10 purchase at eligible U.S. businesses between now and September 20 – up to 10 times.  

As a store owner, you don’t need to register in order to participate, although of course you must accept AmEx cards. Be sure to check the online map that American Express provides consumers to see if your shop is shown.  According to the company, if you process purchases on their card as part of an affiliate program or through a third-party processor (for example, a card reader attached to a mobile device), you may need to contact them in order to be included. They provide a page where you can edit or update your map listing. 

There are free marketing materials available for small business owners to download to promote Shop Small, including email copy, digital banners, a website badge, in-store poster and both animated and static social posts.  These materials lack some of the sophistication of the Small Business Saturday graphics, but that program has had over ten years to evolve.  Many of us remember that American Express launched SBS in 2010 with a similar statement credit offer, which was the first time independent retailers had received significant support from a credit card company. Over the years Small Business Saturday, to be held on November 28 this year, has grown to be one of the biggest days of the year for many locally-owned shops.  We owe a debt of thanks to American Express for both of these efforts on our behalf.

It is urgent that we get the message out to consumers that they must register their American Express cards by July 26 at ShopSmall.com in order to participate in the offer.  Enrollment only takes a moment – but the deadline is coming up soon.  Let’s get as many of our customers as possible on board with Shop Small’s heartwarming goal of “supporting the places you love, and who love you.”

Happy Retailing, 

Carol “Orange” Schroeder