Small Business Saturday is November 25 this year, and it’s approaching fast. Small Business Saturday started in 2010, as small businesses struggled during the aftermath of the financial crisis. American Express coined the phrase and encouraged shoppers to visit small, independent stores and take a break from the big chain stores and e-commerce outlets that see so much business during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Flash forward 8 years, and it’s been a huge success. Surveys showed that U.S. consumers spent $15.4 billion at independent retailers on the day last year, and many analysts expect more traffic this year.

The White House even began to endorse the day a few years ago, and in 2015 then-President Obama was photographed with his family shopping at an independent local bookstore in celebration of the day.

Small Businesses Are Thriving All Year
What has changed to make it grow into such a huge event? Sure, the promotion of the day has gotten bigger. But perhaps the day has grown so big because of the underlying trend—people are shopping at small businesses more and more throughout the year.

All signs point to small businesses being stronger than ever: Optimism is high among small business owners. It’s almost 4 times as high as it was in 2010, the first year of Small Business Saturday. Gallup notes that it hasn’t been this high in 10 years, since just before the 2007 beginning of the recession.

Small businesses have also been hiring at a faster rate than the rest of the economy, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses said that owners are raising compensation at the fastest rate in 15 years in order to stay competitive in the hiring market.

So why this boost in small business growth and optimism? At Cayan, we believe a revolution in retail technology has played a larger part by allowing small businesses to offer their customers the best experience possible.

How Better Technology Helps
Modern payment technology is more sophisticated than ever, and now, available to businesses of every size.  Once thought to be reserved only for “big box” retailers, today’s retail technology enables better reporting and better data, allowing stores deeper insight into customers.

Smaller, more portable POS devices allow retailers to be more consultative sellers, taking payments wherever they want—at the table, in the aisle, even outside their store. And no-friction reward programs cultivate loyalty with easy-to-use smartphone loyalty programs, creating better stickiness and return customers.

This is important because our data shows that customers will go more often to businesses with this sort of technology. Almost 40% of shoppers would be much more likely to shop at small retailers if they offered cutting-edge technology. Options like in-aisle checkout allow businesses to personalize the shopping experience, which 46% of customers say makes them likely to buy more items.

It’s crucial that it’s available to everyone. But it wasn’t always like that.

Until only recently, solutions like these usually had to be created in-house, or else were prohibitively expensive to buy from a third-party. Small businesses could not give customers the experience they wanted, and so they fell further behind.

Solutions Available to Everyone
All that has changed. Modern solutions are not only less expensive, they’re more efficient, too. They’re simple to learn, and update automatically to keep the system secure and futureproof, without any effort from small businesses.

Now, even small businesses can use turnkey e-commerce solutions to sell online. They can embrace “buy online/pick up in-store,” or “buy online/return in store,” two key aspects of modern shopping that customers indicate are a necessity.

This Small Business Saturday, more customers than ever will buy something at a small, independent store. And the good news is, they’ll keep doing that throughout the year. And as technology continues to advance, small businesses will only to continue to catch up to the large chains.

​​Small Business Saturday: Why Small Is the New Big