How Does Small Business Saturday Compare with Black Friday/Cyber Monday?

Last week, we discussed the importance of small businesses and why you should take part in Small Business Saturday. If you read that post, you learned how small businesses benefit others in a variety of ways.

Today we’re going to discuss how Small Business Saturday compares to nearby retail holidays, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.


A Very Brief History of Black Friday/Cyber Monday

We’re sure you’ve heard of Black Friday and its sister holiday, Cyber Monday. They’re well-publicized retail holidays that have been around for decades longer than the only recently-announced Small Business Saturday.

If not, here’s a quick overview.

Black Friday’s roots stretch back to the 1950s when large numbers of workers would take off the day after Thanksgiving. It wasn’t called “Black Friday” until the mid-1960s.

Today, Black Friday has evolved into a giant, consumer-targeted retail holiday. Shoppers rush to the store, sometimes as early as Thanksgiving night, to be the first of thousands of customers to snag that flat-screen for 70% off.

celebrating small business saturday

And then there’s Cyber Monday. Celebrated the Monday after Black Friday (although some retailers start slashing prices as early as November 1st), this holiday is a result of the explosive growth of ecommerce.

Businesses take Black Friday sales to the web, allowing shoppers to take advantage of sales without leaving the comfort of their home.

Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday are associated with large retailers like Best Buy or Amazon. But, what most people don’t realize, is that small businesses use these days to attract new business by lowering their prices.

We’re here to show you why it’s worth adding Small Business Saturday participants to your shopping roster during the Black Friday weekend.


Profit vs Awareness

Enterprise-grade Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals typically have one goal in mind: massive profits.

By combining the alluring effect of slashed prices with the cultural norms surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday, larger businesses can make an absolute killing.

This isn’t a bad thing — shoppers gain access to items at much lower prices than they normally would pay. Despite the huge sales, retailers still profit. Everybody wins something.

Small Business Saturday takes a different approach.

Local businesses don’t pump out massive inventories anywhere near the volume of huge retailers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t offer experiences that are just as valuable.

Rather than offering extreme discounts, small businesses have been known to actually give away free items during these hectic retail holidays. Whether these giveaways are to appreciate loyal customers or entice new customers, the result is often the same: increased business.

Once a shopper browsing deals in a brick-and-mortar or online store, it’s likely that they’ll at least one purchase — especially if those small businesses also happen to be offering Black Friday promotions on top of Small Business Saturday deals.

This approach usually works out well because small businesses have the benefit of authenticity. Combine that authenticity with community ties or local involvement, and small businesses have a powerful arsenal of retail tools to help them stand out against the big guys.


Incentives For Patronizing Small Businesses

Incentives come in many forms during Small Business Saturday, giving shoppers more benefits than promotions held during Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

American Express is a great example.

Small Business Saturday was initially launched by American Express in an effort to help small businesses gain more traction during a time that is typically dominated by enterprise retail. To encourage small business shopping, American Express cardholders gain additional rewards for shopping at selected businesses on Small Business Saturday.

shop local on small business saturday

This incentive program represents another win-win situation — consumers benefit from great deals while small businesses gain more customers and new store awareness.

More and more companies are jumping in to create their own incentives programs as Small Business Saturday rapidly grows. In addition to checking out local deals, we recommend finding other services that offer rewards for shopping small on Small Business Saturday


Support Your Local Businesses!

Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) began with one goal in mind: to help businesses maximize profits. Small Business Saturday is about more than just the money.

Instead of being a day of rowdy shoppers and doorbuster deals, Small Business Saturday promotes awareness of the good your local businesses bring to the community. From traditional retail businesses to service-based shops, small businesses partner with communities entities to create a day dedicated to local participation.

The result is a day that’s truly beneficial to all parties involved.

It’s important to note that promotions do not equate to cold hard business tactics — local companies typically offer sales on Small Business Saturday! The real difference from Black Friday/Cyber Monday is that Small Business Saturday sales come from a need for awareness and a desire to strengthen community relationships.

Looking to nab some great deals during the holiday weekend? Don’t leave out local businesses. You’ll find great deals and in-store experiences that show why it’s worth shopping small.

If you own a small business and want to be featured on our Small Business Saturday posts, reach out to us at!

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