Have you stopped to wonder why Amex has been so interested in promoting ‘Shop Small’ where they’ve given rebates in the past for spend at small businesses and now is offering double points across most consumer and small business cards for spend at small businesses through end of year?
American Express is using this promotion to win over small merchants and get them to accept American Express. (HT: Alan H.)
For those small retailers still on the fence about accepting AmEx, the card issuer said on Monday that it’s launching its largest rewards program ever to sweeten the deal. Beginning this week and continuing through the end of the year, card members can earn double rewards when they shop at eligible small businesses, the company said in a statement.
American Express is working to reach acceptance parity with Visa nad MasterCard. They’re currently giving up income streams from spend at dry cleaners, for instance, although I’ve just changed cleaners myself and my new one does take American Express.
American Express has added 1.6 million small businesses to its payment network in the past two years. They want to both show small businesses the value of accepting American Express (whose cardholders have historically tended to skew higher income and higher spend) and show consumers that they can use cards at small businesses (I almost hadn’t even thought to ask my new dry cleaner).
Howard Grosfield, executive vice president of U.S. consumer marketing, said that the company has “crossed an enormous and accelerated threshold in terms of the number of small merchants that are accepting.”
“We’ve really doubled down over the last couple of years,” said Grosfield.
For American Express, their small business marketing isn’t ‘feel good’ branding — it’s looking for new sources of revenue.