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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

AmEx gives early holiday boost to small businesses

As the holiday shopping season approaches, several programs are underway to help small businesses end the year profitably. In advance of Small Business Saturday, which will be celebrated on Nov. 26, 2016, American Express Co. ramped up its support of the national retail campaign it founded in 2010 to promote independently owned businesses.

Building upon past successes – 95 million consumers were reported to have flocked to small businesses last year on Small Business Saturday – AmEx created the Shop Small Studio, a new resource center that offers tools to create customized print and digital store campaigns. The AmEx ShopSmall.com multimedia hub also features how-to guides to help small businesses prepare for the holiday season.

"Our ultimate goal is to help small businesses do more business – and for Small Business Saturday, that includes arming them with the tools to help make the day a success," said Amy Marino, Vice President and Head of Small Business Saturday at AmEx. She noted that the company collaborated with small business experts, entrepreneurs and influencers to create digital content and easy-to-customize marketing materials for small businesses.

AmEx also hosted a Small Business Saturday Boot Camp in Chicago on Oct. 18. Additional boot camps are slated for New York and San Francisco, on Oct. 20 and 27, respectively. These feature strategic planning workshops and panel discussion led by experts, community leaders and retailers who have participated in previous Small Business Saturday retail campaigns.

Bigger rewards

To further support Small Business Saturday and merchants for the duration of the holiday season, AmEx also launched the Shop Small for 2X Rewards campaign for select U.S. consumer and OPEN Small Business American Express cards. Card members can enroll at www.amex.co/shopsmalloffer to earn rewards at participating merchants through the end of this year.

According to AmEx, the first-of-its kind offer builds on each eligible card's specific rewards program. When card members use an eligible card to shop at qualifying small merchants, they can earn 2X rewards, from points to miles to cash back. For example, Hilton HHonors hotel rewards program members who enroll in the AmEx rewards campaign can earn three additional Hilton HHonors Bonus Points per dollar of purchases.

Easing merchant cash flow, integrations

Another way AmEx hopes to bolster small business activity is through short-term, low-cost financing. In partnership with Intuit Inc., AmEx OPEN Business Card Members who are also QuickBooks Online users can take advantage of this program to pay vendors, thus easing cash flow constraints that sometimes occur.

"We've heard time and again from small business customers that cash flow is a key area of concern when it comes to managing day-to-day business expenses," said E-Bai Koo, Executive Vice President of Global Product Management at American Express Global Commercial Payments. Koo added that because AmEx Working Capital Terms' digital loans are directly embedded into QuickBooks, account management is greatly simplified.

AmEx stated the program allows small businesses to request a term, as well as a loan amount from $1,000 to $750,000, and receive approval in as little as 60 seconds. It can also help streamline vendor management by making and tracking vendor payments, consolidating payment and accounting transactions in one central location, and reconciling accounting ledgers with up-to-date cash flow insights readily available, the company said.

In addition, to further simplify small business network integrations, AmEx recently unveiled Amex for Developers, a portal that provides single-point access to company application programming interfaces (APIs) and developer resources to provide an end-to-end approach to integrating payments, data intelligence, fraud prevention and other business applications.

"American Express has long used APIs to enable selected merchant partners to grow their businesses by engaging their customers who are Card Members in innovative ways," said Marc Gordon, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at AmEx. "With the launch of Amex for Developers, we are expanding access to our APIs to additional partners, creating new opportunities for business growth, both for our partners and for American Express." end of article

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