It is no new news that TikTok significantly influences product sales. Whether this is through targeted advertising by a business or their organic rise to popularity, 49% of TikTok users have admitted to making purchases due to the app. With one viral video able to grow a business overnight, the video-sharing app is the ideal destination for those who want to amplify their sales. To give small businesses a head start, American Express has announced its #ShopSmall Accelerator Program, an initiative created to help small business owners reach a new generation of shoppers. The collaboration between American Express and TikTok will provide small business owners with year-round support, with a goal to drive $100B in consumer purchases at small businesses from 2021 to 2025.
#ShopSmall lands just in time for Small Business Saturday, which has been a nationwide movement since 2010, and begins on November 26, running throughout the holiday shopping season. The accelerator program began on November 14 and includes an offer for eligible small businesses to earn $100 in TikTok advertising credit. In addition, small business owners are also given access to tools and resources, including a tutorial providing tips on how their business can stand out on the platform. The initiative aims to increase the reported $23B consumer spending from Small Business Saturday in 2021, after it was found that two-thirds of every dollar spent at small businesses stay within the local community.
"The #ShopSmall Accelerator will help give small merchants the tools they need to reach the next generation of consumers on TikTok, where our Shop Small Impact Study found that 67% of Gen Z users have shopped from a small business that was displayed on their For You Page," says Elizabeth Rutledge, Chief Marketing Officer, American Express.
Lifestyle creators Anna Sitar and Sofia Bella, alongside independent accessories label founder Brandon Blackwood, have been recruited to teach business owners how to use TikTok as a search engine. This will be a practical tool, as 40% of Gen Z have admitted to using TikTok as a search engine instead of Google. The trio will also teach users how to leverage sounds, trends, hashtags, and communities to engage with their audience in the best ways. American Express has also partnered with musical artist Chlöe Bailey to create a "Shop Small Soundtrack," which users can add to their promotional videos.
"More and more American small businesses are turning to TikTok to take us inside their world in a fun, authentic way, and as a result, they are reaching new customers, hiring more employees and growing their business. The real-world impact is undeniable, with 44% of TikTok users saying that they discovered something on the platform and immediately went out to buy it, according to our Global Retail Path To Purchase Study," says Sofia Hernandez, Global Head of Business Marketing for TikTok. "This holiday season, the TikTok community is ready to #ShopSmall and support small businesses."
Based on the data found in American Express' Small Business Recovery Report, if every Gen Z and millennial shopper spent $10 on Small Business Saturday, $2B in local economic activity would be invested across the US. The study also found that 63% of small business owners said they want to grow their Gen Z and millennial customer base this holiday season, with heavily Gen Z-dominated TikTok the best place to do so.
Aside from the accelerator offerings from American Express, ongoing, year-round support is also available through the company's Shop Small Resource Hub, where business owners have access to complimentary marketing supplies and resources. And American shoppers can find American Express–accepting independent retailers across the country through the Shop Small Map.
As 77% of TikTok users say the app is likely to inspire a gift idea this holiday season, now is the perfect time for small businesses and independent retailers to polish up their marketing strategies across the platform. After the pandemic took a toll on several companies, forcing 43% to close temporarily, this time period is critical when it comes to making up for lost profits, with 50% agreeing that this year's Small Business Saturday is more critical than ever for their business. A gift purchased from a small business is not only a gift to the person on the receiving end but also to the business owner. Those who wish to enter their company into the #ShopSmall accelerator program can do so by December 24.
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