Small businesses shake things up to win customers and boost sales

New research has found that a majority of small and medium sized businesses are keeping a laser focus on boosting sales in the period ahead, by ramping up marketing activity and investing in new products and services. American Express’ annual Business Barometer surveyed 1,000 UK SMEs and found that almost two thirds (64%) or respondents are diversifying their customer offer to help strengthen business performance.

When asked about tactics to drive growth, over four in 10 (43%) plan to improve customer communications; 38% are looking to provide new services, and about a third (32%) are set to launch more special offers. Two fifths of respondents (41%) cited increasing marketing activity as a priority in the months ahead.

The study also highlighted recognition from the small business community of the critical role of innovation, with almost one third of respondents (32%) planning to introduce new payment methods for customers in the future.

The research comes as American Express brings back its multi-channel campaign highlighting the benefits to small businesses of accepting Amex. Set in a variety of bustling stores, the ‘Busy is good for business’ campaign showcases how American Express can help attract new and repeat customers, driving business growth. There are more UK small businesses on American Express’ network than ever before – over a third (37%) more than last year.

Dan Edelman, Vice President and UK General Manager, Merchant Services at American Express said: “It’s really encouraging to see how energised small businesses are when it comes to both keeping and winning new customers. For small business owners, being ‘busy’ is the best feeling in the world, and we are backing them to help drive growth.

“Partnering with Amex gives small merchants access to our loyal and high spending Cardmembers, who are regularly incentivised and rewarded for their purchases. Small merchants can also be part of campaigns that promote their business to our Cardmembers, such as Shop Small, and access a wide range of exclusive content and expertise designed to move their business forward.” 

New support for small businesses

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024

Additionally, in the coming months, American Express will be offering a range of exclusive business-building content for its small business customers and the wider small business community, including:

  • Exclusive webinars and tutorials in collaboration with TikTok to help small businesses reach new customers and promote themselves more effectively on the social channel
  • Virtual business-building workshops on topics such as financial management, productivity and customer relations
  • New YouTube video series presented by successful UK entrepreneur James Sinclair, diving into a range of topics from developing marketing tactics, to getting customers in the door, all to help business owners drive growth.

American Express has also recently partnered with not-for-profit organisation, Be the Business to providesupport for the UK’s small business community. The partnership connects American Express’ SME customers to relevant experts, guidance and tools designed to boost productivity and performance.

As founder and principal supporter of Small Business Saturday UK, the grassroots, not-for-profit campaign, American Express is a long-standing champion of small businesses. This year, the campaign marks its 11th anniversary, on Saturday December 2.

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024