SHOP SMALL Helps Small Businesses Recover in Japan

Aside from a cashback campaign, it also supports them with anti coronavirus tools.

Kamawanu, participating in SHOP SMALL, carries out 30% cashback campaign

There is a cafe and bar near the Daikanyama station in Tokyo called
Roti Chez-lui, created by a long-established restaurant in Japan. This is a popular restaurant where you can enjoy Rotisserie Chicken baked on a special grill. In the food and beverage industry, which is in a difficult situation due to the spread of new coronavirus infection, how does a restaurant survive? We spoke to Yoshimaru Kozaki, the owner of the restaurant, on how he is able to manage his business in this severe circumstance.

Roti Chez-lui

"We continued business by shortening business hours and by focusing on delivery services and takeout menus, which we had never done before,” Kozaki shares. “We also sell bread and other products at our store,
Chez-lui, which is located opposite our restaurant, so we decided not to change the prices of these products and to deliver them all to customers.”

Another strategy the store implemented is to work with other stores in the same area. He tells us, “We collaborated with stores in the same area to create a booklet that explains delivery services of the stores.” Though of course not all of the loss was covered, he explains that there was still some good to come out of it. “We couldn't cover all of the decline in sales there, but I'm sure it has been better than not doing it because the customers were happy. I believe that we have meals at home more than before because of corona infectious diseases, and given the limited variety of dishes at home, there was a voice saying that ‘delivery service is helpful.’ In April and May, about 60% of the sales of Roti Chez-lui fell."

Roti Chez-lui: Rotisserue Chicken is popular

Sweet Potatoes are popular at Chez-lui in Daikanyama

Against this backdrop, American Express International, Inc. (hereinafter, American Express) launched
SHOP SMALL, which began as part of support programmes for small and medium-sized stores that are in a difficult situation because of new corona diseases, also in Japan from July 3. American Express will invest more than 200 million dollars in the future, and will carry out various efforts to promote consumption in more than 10 countries including Japan.

As one of the efforts, American Express carries out a 30% cashback campaign (the largest ever in the business of American Express in Japan) for American Express card members at about 100,000 small and medium stores in Japan. In addition, in order to support the resumption of business at stores that have been refraining from business, American Express will provide free materials that explain how to maintain social distance in stores and sanitary products such as hand sprays for disinfection. American Express will provide multilateral support for the business restart of small and medium-sized member stores.


Hygiene products provided by American Express for SHOP SMALL

Regarding this support, Kozaki of Roti Chez-lui, who participates in SHOP SMALL commented, "there are many invisible obstacles in the difficult situation of corona, so I would be happy if there was something that could remove that obstacle." He said of the importance and expectation of support, "30% cashback campaigns have a great impact, so I'm really looking forward to them. While giving the utmost consideration to the safety of customers and employees, we would like to encourage customers to enjoy eating and shopping at stores in the city as much as possible. I would be happy if SHOP SMALL could be a chance to encourage customers to visit us."

Roti Chez-lui focused on delivery services and takeout menus.

In Daikanyama,
Kamawanu, a Tenugui (a thin Japanese hand towel made from cotton) store, and Daikanyama SOU, a beauty salon, also participate in SHOP SMALL. Kamawanu public relations spokesman, Hitomi Sato, said, “we have opened an online store that customers can enjoy even during periods when it was difficult for them to visit us, and it has been well received. I am also looking forward to SHOP SMALL as an opportunity for customers to walk around Daikanyama. The SHOP SMALL Sanitary Goods and Social Distance Awareness Materials provided by American Express are very helpful because it costs a lot to outsource.”

Kamawanu, a specialty store for tenugui that participates in SHOP SMALL and a public relations staff, Ms. Hitomi Sato

Daikanyama SOU Representative Director, Koichi Seki said, “the cancellations of visits were continuing before, but the customers gradually returned from around mid-June. We started selling jewelry and other products so that they could be seen in remote working settings. When I was looking for something new to do, I received a consultation about SHOP SMALL. I was surprised at the proposal of support, but since this beauty salon is not a style that accepts many customers at once, it seems that regular customers can also accept it as a SHOP SMALL format, and I feel grateful. Many regular customers are not only locals, but also those who come all the way from afar. I hope those customers will also be happy with the cashback campaign.” He looks forward to revitalizing the business with SHOP SMALL.

Koichi Seki, Representative Director of Daikanyama SOU

From May 28 to June 3, 2020, American Express conducted a survey on small and medium-sized business owners and consumers in the six countries of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Japan and Mexico. Forty percent (40%) replied "I don't think my store can continue to operate until it recovers to the level required for sustainable business."


A few of the respondents answered "government/local government" (22%) and "new customers" (21%) as the most important supporters for the shop to recover from the effects of corona infection, but the largest answer is "local regular customers" (35%).

Here’s an overview of the activities under SHOP SMALL

30% cashback at small and medium-sized member stores nationwide, about 100,000 stores

30% cashback each time for American Express card members who registered in advance and paid with the card registered at the stores participating in "30% cashback at SHOP SMALL Amex" (Cashback maximum amount: 5000 yen total.

Pre-registration period/Campaign period: July 3 to September 24 (Thursday), 2020

Campaign stores: Please check the list on
the campaign site.

They will provide anti-coronavirus tools for member stores such as:

Disinfectant alcohol sprayer, disinfectant alcohol spray, antibacterial pen, disinfectant goods, OPEN board, hygiene awareness POP, social distance mark are provided free of charge. Free distribution of SNS posting templates showing online shopping, takeout products, and delivery services

Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Tokyo Walker™ (10 July 2020)

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