American Express has strengthened its commitment to Bahrain's small businesses marking a successful conclusion to the third edition of its Shop Small campaign.

Talking exclusively to the GDN, the CEO of American Express Middle East, Mazin Khoury, said that the third edition of Shop Small marks American Express

Middle East’s continued commitment to supporting small businesses and SMEs in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The two-month campaign saw a strong response from both consumers and businesses.

Supporting Small Businesses:

"We are proud of the positive impact Shop Small has had on Bahrain's small business community over the past three years,” said Mr Khoury. Mr Khoury explained that the initiative is an integral part of the company's CSR strategy and bringing the community together was a key goal.

"This year, we were particularly pleased to see a significant number of new merchants join the programme, offering Card Members an even wider range of shopping options."

Incentivizing Card Members:

Throughout the campaign, American Express Card Members earned a credit of 2 Bahraini dinars (BD) for every 5 BD spent at participating shops, enabling them to earn cash back of up to 10 BD a month. This incentive encouraged Card Members to explore and support local businesses across various sectors, including cafes, restaurants, beauty salons, and grocery stores.

Shop Small Merchants:

"Not only did we have all the Shop Small businesses from last year participating this year as well, but we saw a significant number of new participating small businesses, accounting for more than 50% of the total, which shows how well it has worked," he added.

"As a proud partner of the community for over 50 years, we are committed to supporting and empowering local businesses that contribute positively to the growth of the Kingdom's economy.”

“Small business owners see the added value that American Express brings in attracting new high spending and loyal customers through marketing initiatives like our annual Shop Small campaign - incentivising and rewarding Card Members to spend in participating small businesses.”

Additional Markets:

"We are very enthusiastic after the success we had in Bahrain to replicate this initiative across the region, aiming to offer more support, more frequently, to more communities moving forward. This year we have expanded the campaign to Doha, Qatar and it has been quite successful, and we are planning to launch it in additional markets in the years to come.”

Digital Transformation and Customer Experience:

"Besides a boost in sales, merchants benefit from more footfalls, engagement and reach through robust digital and radio marketing. We believe that small merchants are a core part of the local economy and when they thrive, the whole economy will improve," he said.

Highlighting Bahrain's small community ethos, he said many of the participating small merchants are also Amex Card Members and are seeing the benefits from both sides.

Shop Small Evolution:

Key improvements in the campaign over the last three years has come about based on inputs from merchants and consumers."I believe the quality of feedback we received holds more significance than mere numbers. Our focus on garnering insightful and qualitative responses has allowed us to understand and engage with our audience, leading to outcomes that exceed traditional metrics of success.”

"First of all, there is the increased diversity in shops - more than half of the merchants participating in Shop Small this year were in the retail sector and a third of the merchants were cafes and restaurants, then we had electronics stores, pet shops, car rentals, pharmacies and clinics.”

We recognize and appreciate the significance of sustainability and backing small businesses, especially with Millennials and Generation Z. Our Millennials and

Gen Z Card members like “Shop Small” because it aligns with their values. Through our Shop Small initiative, we are bridging the gap and bringing them closer to supporting local and small businesses.

Supporting small businesses is no longer a once-a-year effort; it's now ingrained in our business strategy as we continuously champion them throughout the year. The impact of initiatives like Shop Small is clear from the remarkable achievements it has garnered in previous years. We continue to witness a growing interest from more merchants to be a part of our Shop Small movement, emphasizing the importance of ongoing support and cultivation of small businesses.


“Customer centricity is at the heart of everything we do, which is why we prioritize technology as a crucial component of our customer experience strategy. With our Shop Small, we looked at ways we could bring small businesses closer to our Card Members and we were able to achieve that with an interactive map on our website that helped our Card Members effortlessly locate and access nearby small businesses who warmly welcome our cards.

Our focus has always been to deliver innovative solutions to our customers and Business partners through initiatives and campaigns such as Shop Small which allow us to leverage the power of technology to offer our Card Members differentiated products and services through a seamless journey.”

"There's a growing acceptance of digital payments among merchants. Digital commerce platforms are creating new opportunities for small businesses and retailers," he said.

Millennials and Gen Z are increasingly demanding seamless digital experiences that effortlessly integrate into their daily lives, making it imperative for businesses, including small businesses to enhance their digital payment options along with their online presence and offer convenient shopping experiences.


Mr Khoury also said American Express Middle East sees fintech as a way to expand its reach, stay innovative, and cater to a changing financial landscape. It enables features like loyalty programmes and wallet-to-wallet transfers, attracting customers and fostering financial inclusion for all business partners. “Our mobile app is a prime example of how we integrate seamless digital onboarding processes into all our initiatives with a unique closed-loop system for both

Card Members and merchants, helping them reach their audiences efficiently and providing a comprehensive journey for all.Through Shop Small, American Express aims to expand acceptance, while partnering with banks, fintech and payment facilitators to empower Card Members to use their Cards for everyday spending.”

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