On Small Business Saturday, We Look at Small Business Retailers through the LinkedIn Lens

November 25, 2017

Small Business Retailers

Editor's Note: This is the final post in the LinkedIn Marketing Blog's Small Business Series. The previous posts in the series can be found here and here and here.

Back in 2010, American Express first promoted the Small Business Saturday campaign to encourage shoppers to patronize brick and mortar business that are small and local. Over the last seven years the program has grown tremendously and is now evangelized as a major retail holiday.

The National Retail Federation’s 2017 Holiday Spending Survey reports 25% of consumers planning to visit small or local businesses this season.1  In fact, Small Business Saturday retail sales are projected to be around $2.5 billion dollars this year. That’s already half as much as the biggest retail holiday, Black Friday.2   

The growth and success of Small Business Saturday wouldn’t be what it is today without the Small Business Retailers themselves. Leveraging LinkedIn data, we aimed to learn more about these folks and how they position themselves for succees.  

Who Are Small Business Retailers?

There are more than 930,000 SMB Retailers on LinkedIn in marketing and sales across a variety of industries.3 These retail employees have a global footprint but are heavily concentrated in the United States. They work across a variety of company sizes4, primarily in retail, consumer goods, and apparel and fashion industries. Just over a quarter of them work as salespeople, while other common roles are marketing specialists and owners. They maintain relevant professional skills such as wholesaling, merchandising, and trend analysis. 

Top 10 Skills SMB Retailers List in Their Profiles (indexed to general population)

  1. Footwear
  2. Luxury Goods
  3. Wholesale
  4. Wine Tasting
  5. Retail Sales
  6. Visual Merchandising
  7. Apparel
  8. Furniture 
  9. Cosmetics
  10. Trend Analysis

How Do Small Business Retailers Use the LinkedIn platform?

Small business retailers are actually quite active on the LinkedIn platform. They’re heavily reliant on their LinkedIn networks, looking to build professional relationships and create an environment of continual learning. They’re 22% more likely than average LinkedIn members to network with other professionals and 25% more likely to learn about what other colleagues are doing.5 It’s no surprise this makes them 38% more connected on average.

The value they place on their LinkedIn networks also extends to industry thought leaders. They average 87% more company follows, which helps them keep a pulse on the industry and learn from the successes and challenges of other businesses. They belong to retail groups on the platform and follow influencers in the retail industry.

Top 10 Companies Small Business Retailers Follow (indexed to general population)

  1. Theory
  2. Marc Jacobs
  3. Rag & Bone
  4. Benefit Cosmetics
  5. Kering
  6. Urban Outfitters
  7. Christian Louboutin
  8. Forever 21
  9. Calvin Klein
  10. The Net-a-Porter Group

Top 10 Groups Small Business Retailers Belong to (indexed to general population)

  1. Managers of Luxury
  2. Consumer Goods & Retail Professionals
  3. Cosmetics, Beauty and Fashion Job Opportunities
  4. The Business of Fashion
  5. StyleCareers
  6. Textile, Apparel, Footer & Fashion 
  7. Retail Industry Professionals Worldwid
  8. Fashion & Lifestyle Industry Professionasl Worldwide
  9. Retail Management Executive Group
  10. Luxury & Lifestyle Professionals 

7 Key Influencers Small Business Retailers Follow (indexed to general population)

  1. Rachel Zoe, Editor-in-Chief, The Zoe Report
  2. Angela Ahrendts, SVP, Apple Retail
  3. Barbara Corcoran, Co-Founder, Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners
  4. Gary Vaynerchuck, CEO, Vayner Media
  5. Daymond John, CEO, FUBU
  6. Kevin O'Leary, Chairman, O'Shares Investments
  7. Robert Herjavec, Founder, Herjavec Group

What Are Small Business Retailers Interested In?

Small business retailers are looking to understand the most important retail trends of the year and how they impacted business for better or for worse. They engaged with articles discussing the latest retail partnerships, new brands gaining traction, bankruptcies, and holiday preparations. Below are the top articles Small Business Retailers engaged with in the last month. 

Top Articles Small Business Retailers Engaged with in the Last 30 Days

  1. In Massive Retail Shift, Nike to Focus Efforts on Just 40 Retail Partners      
  2. Mattel Earnings Tumble as Toys R Us Bankruptcy Eats Into Sales    
  3. Smart Brands like Aesop Have Figured Out That Clever Distribution Build Brands    
  4. The Top 10 Most Important Retail Trends Worldwide in 2017    
  5. Problemen Hudson's Bay     
  6. Black Friday: Nordstrom and Stein Mart Join These 60-Plus Stores Closing on Thanksgiving     
  7. Nordstrom Just Opened a Tiny Store Without Any Inventory. Here's What It Looks Like Inside   
  8. America's 'Retail Apocalypse' Is Really Just Beginning    
  9. Horror Show Just Won't End for Macy's and Nordstrom  
  10. How an Obscure Drink from the Midwest Became a Millennial Sensation 

This LinkedIn data indicates that the small business retail sector is undergoing a massive shift. To keep pace with the big changes reshaping digital marketing, subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing Blog today

Photo: David Trawin


1. National Retail Federation 2017 Predictions

2. eMarketer US Holiday Season Retail Ecommerce Sales, by Shopping Day 2017

3. LinkedIn defined SMB Retailers as members in marketing or sales functions, at company sizes of 1-200, and in industries such as apparel and fashion, consumer electronics, consumer goods, cosmetics, furniture, luxury goods and jewelry, retail, sporting goods, supermarkets, or wine and spirits.

4. Percentages for company sizes 1-200 may not add up to 100% as folks can have multiple current positions.

5. "Learn about what other colleagues are doing" is defined by company page views, who viewed my profile views, and people you may know views.