Just a week into the fourth quarter, merchants and PAYMENTS companies already are preparing for the busy holiday-shopping season.


American Express Co. marks its seventh annual Small Business Saturday—Nov. 26—with the debut of the Shop Small Studio at ShopSmall.com. The service provides merchants with Web-site badges, flyers, social-media tools, and photos to promote the effort to entice consumers to shop at small businesses. AmEx says a 2015 survey found that 95 million consumers shopped at a small business on Small Business Saturday.


“This year we are collaborating with small business experts, entrepreneurs, and influencers to create bite-size digital content and easy-to-customize marketing materials to help small-business owners attract more customers, drive sales and feel the love from shoppers on Nov. 26,” said Amy Marino, vice president and head of Small Business Saturday, in a press release.


AmEx also will host three events for small business in Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco. They’ll include a how-to workshop, a panel discussion about tips for Small Business Saturday, and the opportunity to create custom marketing materials. Other merchant tools include videos, articles, and infographics.


In related news, the outlook for the holidays is upbeat among small businesses. Some 59% of small-business owners expect more holiday online shopping purchases this year, finds the inaugural 2016 Fall/Winter Chase Business Leaders Outlook survey from JPMorgan Chase & Co.


Additionally, 46% of the nearly 900 merchants surveyed expect an increase in consumer spending during the holiday-shopping season, and 40% of them expect consumers to start their holiday shopping sooner than they did last year. There are more than four weeks between Thanksgiving, Nov. 24, and Christmas, Dec. 25, this year.


Acquirers that offer merchant lending might take heed that the survey found 59% of business owners plan to borrow money this holiday season, though 37% anticipate using traditional lenders, the same percentage of those turning to business credit cards. Only 10% expect to use online lenders.


Source: Digitaltransactions.net