Shop Small: A big month for small business

in Managing by The Business Room
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This November, the Shop Small movement arrived on our shores and it was Australia’s turn to give local businesses, often described as the backbone of the nation, some much-needed support and exposure. We did just that according to Rachel Stocks, managing director of American Express Australia.

“We wanted to make November the biggest shopping month for small business,” she said. “Many people have heard the Shop Small message and acted with their wallets.”

The global trend

Originating from the US, the Shop Small campaign, championed by American Express, started in 2010 as a one-day event. Known in the States as ‘Small Business Saturday’, the campaign was a direct response to the economic fallout from the GFC. The Shop Small movement has since expanded its focus and travelled across continents, including Canada and the UK, before landing in Australia.

Australia’s turn to shop local

Shop Small’s mission to deliver more customers to small businesses attracted the support of big business sponsors, including EnergyAustralia, MYOB, NAB and Virgin Australia.

The month-long campaign encouraged the paying public to buy from businesses in their neighbourhood while sharing the message via social networks. The program also offered support in the form of complementary events for small business owners, access to marketing toolkits and special offers.

Widespread support

The campaign enjoyed considerable media attention and attracted a number of high-profile Australians including Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who officially launched the program, acknowledging the importance of small business to Australian society.

“We want to see these businesses flourish and we want to create the economic conditions that make it easier for small business to start, to grow, to expand, to employ and to invest,” Mr Abbott told News Limited.

Australian celebrities, Kylie Kwong and Michael Klim, were also quick to support the scheme in their role as Shop Small ambassadors. Kylie Kwong, chef and owner of Billy Kwong in Sydney, knows firsthand the importance of shopping local and was keen to give back following her business success.

”Shop Small is here to inspire us all to shop with, and give something back to, the people who give our local community its character,” Kwong said.

Former Olympian Michael Klim, who has enjoyed international success with his skincare range Milk & Co, is also passionate about supporting local business. His venture wasn’t an overnight triumph and he benefited from local support.

“Shop Small is about backing the small businesses that give our neighbourhoods their colour and convenience. It’s an initiative every Australian can get behind and feel proud of,” Klim told News Limited.

We all win

A recent online survey by Galaxy Research shows 94 per cent of consumers recognise the importance of small business and understand the benefits to the local community. This includes giving the community an identity, providing customer convenience and offering superior service.1

As well as contributing social and educational benefits, small businesses also drive the economy, providing employment to over 4.8 million employees’ nationally.2

It’s undeniable – small business success is vital to the nation’s prosperity, identity and wellbeing.

What’s next?

So, you’ve shopped small all month and now you feel good about giving back to your community – that’s great! The better news is you don’t have to stop there.

As Rachel Stocks reminds us, “More than 90 per cent of small business operators consider repeat business important to success. It’s clear that we need to keep the momentum going and shop small in the lead-up to Christmas and beyond.”

Make the commitment to shop small an ongoing part of your everyday life. Together, we can reap the local rewards.

To learn more about the Shop Small movement, visit


1 Galaxy Research, October 2013 – Conducted online among a representative sample of 1,003 residents

2 Small Business: Key Statistics and Analysis, Australian Government Department of Industry Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, 2012.

This article represents the views of the author only and not those of American Express.

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