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What to expect from Small business Saturday

Colleen Taylor, American Express Merchant Services Pres., joins Yahoo Finance to discuss What to expect from Small business Saturday.

Video Transcript

ADAM SHAPIRO: We all know someone who's been affected dramatically. And you see it when you walk down, whether it's a city street or you look at some of the stores, which have had to close in your neighborhoods, whether you're in the suburbs or a city. Let's invite in Colleen Taylor. She is president of the Merchant Services at American Express. It's good to have you here, because one of the things that those of us who want to see small business survive, is to help shop on Saturday. And I was curious if what you're hearing from your clients about Small Business Saturday, what is it for them this year? Is it a make or break situation?

COLLEEN TAYLOR: Thank you for having me. And yes, it is a make or break situation. We had a survey of our small business merchants, and they tell us, 75% of them tell us that this is a make or break situation, and they are looking to have an average holiday season or better in order to go into 2021 with good prospects.

SEANA SMITH: Colleen, talk, I guess going off of the fact that this is a make or break season, we've seen so many small businesses here pivot their businesses. Consumers are buying more and more online. A lot of small businesses have focused their efforts on e-commerce. The companies that are doing this successfully, what are some of the common themes that you're seeing?

COLLEEN TAYLOR: Well, I think flexibility is a common theme. Whether they had to pivot and do curbside delivery or actually open up e-commerce sites or have an ability to take an order on an e-commerce site, but deliver through curbside, the small business is resilient and innovative throughout this process. And I think that's going to pay off. So these small businesses are looking for all the pivots that they had to make throughout the year to really pay off in the holiday season.

ADAM SHAPIRO: So when we talk about the dollar figure, what are you anticipating for Small Business Saturday?

COLLEEN TAYLOR: Well, I tell you, last year we had over $110 billion. So I would make no estimate as to what we'll see next week, but the real important thing for us is, we need Small Business Saturday to be each and every day of the season. So we're looking for a full shop small movement throughout the holiday season to support these neighbors, friends and community members.

SEANA SMITH: Colleen, what are some of the things that American Express and that you're doing in order to get people out there and shopping locally rather than going to some of those bigger chains that have been faring relatively well during the pandemic?

COLLEEN TAYLOR: Well, in the past, we've had Shop Small around the holiday season. Recognizing how the COVID pandemic was impacting small businesses, back in June we had a Shop Small investment of over $200 million to share with those partners that we care about them all year round. And we really wanted to get consumers and foot traffic back into their stores.

What's different is, that it's not just the store front. It's really important that we, as consumers, remember that these small businesses are now selling on marketplaces and through e-commerce. And so we have to remember that shopping small this year will look a little bit different.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Is there anything else that American Express is doing for those small business owners? Because it seems as if it's going to need to be more than just shopping on Saturday.

COLLEEN TAYLOR: Yeah, I think one of the key partnerships that we established was with larger companies. Back over the summer, we initiated a program, Stand for Small. And so large companies, like AT&T and Dell and shipping companies, over 100 companies, large companies, committed to work with small businesses to provide discounts, advice and support, because it's good business for them. We have to remember, we're a connected ecosystem. So if small businesses make it, bigger businesses are also well supported.