It's November, and we know what that means. Shopping season is here.

Big-box retailers miraculously transition merchandise from fall to Christmas overnight. While the big guys prepare for huge sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, local businesses have their own day to shine: Small Business Saturday.

Founded by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday falls on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, with this year's taking place Nov. 25. The day was established to foster connection between local businesses and their communities to positively impact the economy.

Why should you participate?

Last year, 112 million people shopped on Small Business Saturday, with 81 percent encouraging friends and family do the same. This day creates the opportunity to show loyal customers why you're their favorite local spot.

Equally important, you gain exposure in hopes of gaining new customers and establishing yourself among competition. Plus, marketing is always a pain point for many business owners, and this makes it easier than ever to reach a targeted audience.

You're interested. Now what?

Participation is a cinch, but promotion is key. Act fast, and take advantage of free marketing materials from American Express through the Shop Small Studio.

You have options to receive materials for social platforms, websites and physical locations. Through the Shop Small Studio, additional promo swag can be obtained with a Shop Small Kit, which includes items like balloons, tote bags and thank-you cards.

Next, it's time to get on the map, the Shop Small Map, that is. Qualifying participants can ensure customers can easily locate them. Not sure if your business qualifies? The criteria is listed here. Being on the map puts you front and center of customers who already shop at businesses just like yours.

Helpful tips for a successful event

If you're going to participate in Small Business Saturday, maximize efforts with the following tips:

1. Spread the word! This event is all about connection. Start reaching out now with marketing materials at the business's physical location and online sites. Ramp up social media with daily posts. Include images with the hashtag #shopsmall.

2. Plan an event on that day and offer special promotions. For example, offer the first 20 customers a sample product and 10 percent off a purchase. Need more foot traffic? Have an employee stand out front, and let passing people spin a wheel of free prizes, then send them inside to claim a fan favorite.

3. Support other local businesses. Build strong community ties by celebrating fellow entrepreneurs. Communicate with nearby businesses and plan special promotions. Follow and engage in their social media activity, and they may do the same in return. A check-in contest could even be implemented.

4. Stay connected afterward. Create long-lasting relationships with customers by getting contact information so they can be included in future promotions and upcoming events.

Small Business Saturday is no longer just a holiday for American Express cardholders. It's a nationally recognized day of celebrating what makes America so special — the people with a vision to own a business and the community that rallies around them.

Use this day to thank current customers, engage new ones and open up big opportunities for the business you've put your heart and soul into making successful.