Every year, Small Business Saturday falls right after Thanksgiving. More accurately, it’s strategically sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The idea is that small businesses (SMBs) should get a piece of the action in all that consumerism on steroids.

At the center of this shopping holiday, American Express is adding a twist. Its “Door to Shop Small” campaign will place QR codes on public installations throughout Chicago, LA, and New York. When consumers scan the codes, they can unlock SMB shoppable content and rewards.

The latter are positioned as an incentive to engage, including $5 statement credits for purchases of $50 or more. Meanwhile, participating merchants in the above cities include Cadence, Courant, Paper Shoot Camera, Gray Malin, Little Words Project, and Cut + Clarity.

Can AR Boost Restaurants’ Holiday Cash Flow?

Immersive Kick

Beyond financial incentives, American Express hopes to differentiate this effort with an immersive kick. Specifically, the “shoppable” content noted above includes AR product visualizations and try-ons. That way, shoppers can gain greater dimensional understanding of the products.

Amex also stresses that it supports SMBs beyond just the once-per-year shopping holiday. For example, its Shop Small program operates year-round and includes various promotions, as well as informational resources to motivate consumers to patronize their local stores.

Part of that broader effort was on display in a recent Amex report. Entitled 2023 American Express Shop Small Impact Study, it highlights aggregate data around SMBs’ economic impact, as well as their current health. Here are a few quick highlights from the study:

  • 88 percent of small business owners said that they needed more customer support due primarily to current economic conditions.
  • 55 percent expect that Small Business Saturday will contribute meaningfully to their 2023 holiday sales.
  • On the consumer side, 78 percent said they will support local shops this holiday season, which are essential entities for community wellbeing.

Niantic Unlocks Native AR Marketing

Locals Only

Doubling down on its support for local businesses, Amex also projects that it will execute $100 billion in consumer spending with SMBs between 2021 and 2025. And its Small Business Saturday initiatives cumulatively have generated $184 billion in consumer spending with SMBs.

Back to AR, Amex joins several other brands that have used the technology to drive local commerce. Most notable is Niantic’s efforts to drive foot traffic to businesses from Pokemon Go in-game promotions, and its recent program to bring that capability to third-party developers.

Meanwhile, if you’re in any of the above-noted cities on Saturday look out for blue door frame installations. They’ll be placed in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile (Pioneer Court), Los Angeles’ Westfield Century City, and New York City’s Gansevoort Plaza in the Meat Packing District.

Header image credit: Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

More from AR Insider…