GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It is the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season: Thanksgiving kicks off what many are calling "Cyber Week," made up of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday.
Cyber Week accounts for as much as 20 percent of all online shopping for the year, according to softwaremaker Adobe, which analyzes retail and other industries.
With so much money being spent, Target 8 went to Phil Catlett, CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan, to find out what to watch out for while shopping. His first piece of advice was not to get lured on by a great deal from a questionable site.
"You should check and verify that that website's been around for a while and what their history is," he said. "They may have done a great job of imitating the real website, and before you know it, you might have sent money, they might tell you to get a card where you take the serial number off the back to make your purchase with, or it could just be identity theft. All those things are good to look out for at this time of the year."
Over the 2017 Thanksgiving shopping weekend, mobile orders surpassed desktop orders on every day but Cyber Monday. The BBB is warning customers to be careful what apps and accounts they access on public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi is not as secure as your home network and could put you at risk of identity theft.
"There are known vulnerabilities and if you don't have the latest updates on your app or the latest updates on your phone, hackers might be getting into your device and you might regret it lately later," he said.
While many think of scammers targeting the elderly, young consumers are increasing being made targets, especially when it comes to email phishing scams that seek to steal someone's identity.
"They (younger people) have clean credit histories, so what a wonderful opportunity for a scammer, and this is the time of year that this tends to pick up," Catlett said.
The BBB has more advice for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday shopping on its website.
ST. GEORGE — What started as an effort by American Express to encourage people to begin shopping at small businesses around the holidays quickly became nationally recognized as Small Business Saturday, a day for local businesses to offer discounts and promotions the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
American Express first launched Small Business Saturday in 2010, during a time when small businesses were still reeling from the Great Recession, to encourage holiday shoppers to spend their money in local economies, according to American Express Shop Small.
By 2011, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution supporting the cause and officials in every state participated.
On Nov. 16, the Senate passed two resolutions to commemorate the 30-year anniversary of the Womens Business Act of 1988 and to recognize Nov. 24, 2018 as Small Business Saturday.
The Downtown Long Beach Alliance will be hosting an event at that looping silver structure on Pine Avenue and Ocean Boulevard, where you can take photos with the Grinch, hear live music by local bands, get your face painted, drink a Grinch cocktail and more, from 2 to 6 p.m. Also at The Loop, pick up a map and catch a free trolley to multiple small businesses throughout downtown—from The Streets to Shoreline Village— to shop and dine. Check out the event page here for all the info.
The bipartisan Small Business Saturday resolution was made to join the Small Business Administration to recognize the contributions that small businesses make to the national economy, celebrate small-business owners, acknowledge the importance of creating business-friendly policies for small-business owners and supporting young entrepreneurs.
Small businesses provide amost two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. and employ nearly 48 percent of private sector employees, according to a press release from Sen. Orrin Hatch. There are over 30 million small businesses in the U.S., representing 99.9 percent of all businesses in the country and making up 97.6 percent of firms that export goods.
Since the start of Small Business Saturday customers have spent an estimated $85 billion at independent retailers and restaurants, according to an American Express survey.
Small Business Saturday in Bixby Knolls will kick off at 9 a.m. encouraging shoppers to get to know and support local businesses in the area. A couple deals worth noting: Liberation Brewing Co. is offering happy hour prices all day, while Commit2Fit is offering free 30-minute workouts (where you can burn off all those beer calories). Check out the event page here for all the specials being offered.
This year, the Business Resource Center at Dixie State University has organized around 20 local businesses in St. George to participate in Small Business Saturday with sales, events and giveaways, according to a press release.
Many of the participating business are are located in the the shops at Green Gate Village in downtown St. George, where shoppers will receive free hot chocolate and a free tote bag with every purchase. A list of all participating businesses in St. George can be found online.
A small business has a lot of products that Amazon doesnt, they have a lot of products that other companies dont, they have something unique, said Peter Fuller, marketing and events coordinator for the Business Resource Center. And even if its not at the steepest discount, thats kind of their bread and butter is something unique, something fun something from the heart.
Besides traditional shopping, The Southern Utah Museum of Art in Cedar City is offering a Small Business Saturday sale from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. as it debuts this years seasonal merchandise including ornaments, holiday cards and handmade candles.
Shoppers will receive a mystery discount of 10-25 percent off their total purchase and kids have the opportunity to participate in a make-and-take activity from 2-4 p.m. Donations will also be accepted to benefit Iron County Care and Share.
Shoppers arent the only ones who have to prepare for holiday shopping. TDS Telecom offers seven tips for businesses who wish to participate in Small Business Saturday:
Shopping at small businesses not only boosts the local economy and provides an opportunity to give gifts that are not readily found at larger retailers, but it also helps to support local business owners and their families, Fuller said.
We forget that we want to get our family members something unique, something cool, and at the same time how awesome it is to support small business. Support someone whose livelihood this is. Support them so that they can buy holiday presents for their family, Fuller said. Thats the spirit that we want to get people into. Support others with your holiday shopping.