Small, often family-run shops, restaurants and businesses are what make the Great British high street globally famous. Domestic shoppers and retail tourists alike love to browse, shop and support these small British businesses that delight customers with unique experiences.

It’s no secret that it’s been a challenging few years for the much-loved small businesses of the High Street, with both the pandemic and a cost of living crisis to contend with. As a result, for many small business owners, attracting more visitors through their doors is top of mind.

Social media

Social media has become an essential tool for attracting customers. Growing a presence on popular social media apps allows business owners to reach new audiences, enables easy communication with customers and is a great way to promote new products or services.

Online reviews

Alongside social media, online reviews are fast becoming a popular resource that prospective shoppers may check before visiting a high street business. Reminding regular shoppers to leave a positive review can help make sure new shoppers have a positive impression of your business before they even walk through the door.

Awareness campaigns

There are plenty of local, regional, national and international awareness campaigns geared towards supporting small businesses. Check your local council website to explore local initiatives geared towards raising awareness of local small businesses. Google and social media are also fantastic resources for finding awareness days and campaigns to take part in. A prime example is Small Business Saturday which urges consumers to shop small and promotes local support for the High Street.

Commercial initiatives & key calendar moments

There are also commercial initiatives and key calendar moments to capitalise on, such as Black Friday, the Christmas shopping season and the summer trade. A strong social media presence and a compelling set of deals and offers may help attract more customers to your business during busier periods.

Taking part in initiatives, such as the American Express annual Shop Small™ campaign, may also be worth considering for small businesses wanting to drive footfall. The campaign, which has run for 11 years, takes place from 1 to 3 December* this year and allows American Express customers to receive £5 credit for every £15 or more spent in one transaction – at no cost to the business owner. American Express drives a lot of awareness around this popular offer and the campaign attracts shoppers who on average spend 1.4x more per transaction than the average shopper. And with American Express® cardmembers spending 3.8x more annually than the average shopper**, by taking part in this initiative, you may be able to attract higher-spending customers.

In summary a strong social media presence and trusted reviews, combined with engaging in local and national campaigns can attract more customers to your business. Exploring these strategies ahead of the busy festive season may help increase the arrival of new customers and help to create a fantastic experience for repeat customers.

*Offer is available from 1 – 3 December 2023. Offer is only intended for UK Cardmembers who save the Offer to a qualifying American Express Card.

**2022, American Express internal data for United Kingdom Cardmembers spending across Europe compared to GlobalData Payment Card Analytics for transactions with domestic cards at terminals in the country and outside the country, including at physical terminals and initiated remotely.

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