Giving Small Businesses Access To Big Business Advantages

Giving Small Businesses Access To Big Business Advantages
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

Jee Moon is the Vice President of Merchant Marketing and Business Insights At American Express responsible for the Asia Pacific region.

As a seasoned marketer, Moon has over 20 years of management experience building and transforming brands across the US, Europe, Middle East and the Asia Pacific.

In her post for B&T, Moons opens her playbook to share practical tips that the small business sector can apply as operators recalibrate for growth, and advocates supporting small businesses is our collective responsibility as we look to reinvigorate our neighbourhoods.

Here it is:

The resilience, tenacity and passion that small business owners have shown over the past couple of years has resounded across the nation. No one needs to tell them how challenging it was – they’ve lived and breathed it.

I grew up watching my father run his own small business. From an early age, I developed an appreciation for the dedication and hard work that goes into running one each and every day, which is why I’m passionate about helping small businesses bounce back.

From what we’re seeing, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Globally, American Express has seen a continued rebound in travel and entertainment spending, with restaurant spending notably resilient, growing above pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter1.

As we look to the new year, it comes with a sense of newfound optimism and the hope that it will bring strong recovery to the small business sector and a level of normalcy for us all.

We need to rally and stand united with small businesses for the good of our nation.

Backing the small business sector

With the sector’s sights set on recalibrating for growth, small business owners should have a clear strategy in place to connect with their most desirable customers.

At American Express we’re helping our small business merchants attract our high spending Card Members as well as giving them valuable access to big business advantages that they wouldn’t ordinarily have access to using the might of our marketing engine and global network.

In Australia, 8 in every 10 businesses that offer American Express to their customers are small businesses.2. We’re working hard to create growth opportunities for small business operators from our annual Shop Small campaign that spotlights their importance and incentivises our Card Members to spend with them, through to our new Dream Backers competition, which will give one lucky small business owner the chance to have their boldest business dream realised. We’re championing small businesses in recognition of the important role they play.

There are some key actions that we can all share with small businesses to help set them up for 2022.

#1: Attract Good, Better, Best Customers

It’s important to invest precious time behind impactful activity across the right customer segment. All customers are welcome, but those who come back often and spend big – the Best Customers – are needed to bounce back quicker.

From our data, we know that American Express Card Members spend 1.7 times more than non-card members, with 68% of Card Members stating they’re more likely to return to an American Express accepting merchant3. This means that Amex Card Members spend more and they’re loyal customers – and that’s exactly what the small business sector needs more of.

Small business owners can review their target audience against marketing resource investment to assess whether time and energy is being spent on attracting the Best Customers or if focus needs to shift to maximise return.

#2: Make Bigger Players Work for Small Businesses

Small businesses can tap into the expertise of government, industry and partners. While owners are used to flying solo, they can access support and a wealth of knowledge if one knows where to look.

Government resources equip small businesses with step-by-step guides and planning templates to make business and marketing planning a little easier. Industry associations provide small businesses the opportunity to network and learn from others in the sector.

Consideration should also be given to how targeted messages can be amplified across partners’ networks. Through Amex Offers for example, which provides Amex Card Members with special discounts and promotions for spending with select businesses, one operator realised a 59% increase in the use of Amex Cards, that hadn’t previously been transacted at that small business in the 12 months prior. The business owner also saw a 75% uplift in the average Amex transaction size as a result of being promoted by the American Express network.4

Thinking creatively and laterally, small businesses can leverage big businesses to drive their marketing. Consider how existing relationships could be leveraged to increase brand awareness and get new customers through the door.

#3: Provide the Freedom to Choose

With the pandemic accelerating the use of digital payments reducing any customer friction is essential. Enabling consumers to pay using their preferred payment method results in a better consumer experience.

With greater awareness around the value of customer choice, we have seen acceptance of American Express grow and it’s stronger today than ever before.

Our collective responsibility looking ahead:

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy – they’re the heart and soul of the communities where we live and work. It’s up to us to collectively support them to reinvigorate our neighbourhoods. Shop small and shop local to help our diverse communities thrive next year.

And if you haven’t done your Christmas shopping yet – we’ve calculated that if each Australian adult purchased a $100 gift at a small business5, it would deliver an additional $2 billion boost to the sector.

One aspect is clear – operational resilience and business growth will require more than just opening doors next year. Small business operators have repeatedly shown they have grit, passion and an ability to adapt to the toughest of conditions.

But they shouldn’t do it alone. We need to all lean into our responsibility to back small businesses. Our communities need to support the small operators along their local high streets. Together, it’s our hope that next year we’ll come out as a society stronger than ever before.


1: American Express Global Earnings Press Release Q3 2021

2: American Express internal proprietary data 2013 – 2021

3: American Express commissioned internet panel survey conducted in July – August 2019 based on purchases made in the 6 months prior to the survey.

4: Internal American Express proprietary data 7 June 2021 – 8 August 2021

5: This figure is the potential spend opportunity if shoppers spent $100 with a small business. The figure was calculated by multiplying the weighted count/ estimated population of Australian adults aged 18+ (19,990,000) by $100, which equals $1.99 billion.

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