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Presented by Shopify

 In 2016, the phenomenon known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) hit a whole new milestone. Consumers racked up more $3.45 billion in purchases, over a single day. On Black Friday, traffic shot up by 220 percent.

Those numbers include the big-box retailers we think of as the real generators of holiday shopping madness — but the weekend doesn’t belong to them anymore, and they’re not commanding all the consumer cash anymore. Last year Shopify, ecommerce platform for over 500,000 small merchants, processed over $555,716 in transactions in just one minute — proving that this massive buying event is a huge opportunity for small and independent businesses, too.

Watch the impact of Black Friday Cyber Monday in real time starting November 23rd.

Consumers are getting pickier about their shopping choices, and platforms like Shopify increase the opportunities for small and independent businesses to succeed. These movements are buoyed by what were, at the outset, grassroots initiatives like Small Business Saturday, a strategy originally designed by shoppers, small businesses, and civic leaders to strengthen local economies, and Giving Tuesday, born from social media and aimed at boosting charitable giving.

Taken together, holiday sales have become a more extended phenomenon for small businesses. In their most recent holiday spending report, Deloitte found that $200 billion in market share is being traded to smaller businesses, away from the top 25 publicly traded retailers, which includes both Amazon and Walmart.

But to compete, a small business owner can’t slash and burn prices when there’s so much riding on their margin. But where small businesses blow the Walmarts out of the water is customer service and personalized attention.

In fact, customer experience is almost always the tipping point during the decision-making portion of the funnel, a recent BDC study found, and part of that is being able to offer more and more personalized interactions, as well as customized offerings that make a shopping experience more relevant.

Analysts are predicting that this year’s Black Friday Cyber Monday is going to break 2016 records not just in the U.S., but across the world, for businesses across the world that depend on this busy season to survive.

Visualizing the power of Black Friday

To demonstrate the powerful global impact of the biggest shopping weekend in the world, Shopify is unveiling its BFCM Live Data Dashboard. It’s a real-time visualization that will display the sales happening around the world as they happen, as well as statistical analysis of both merchant and consumer behavior, such as which states are showing the most sales, cumulative estimated shipping distances, and more. Last year, Shopify merchants sent packages traveling over 11 billion miles (for comparison, Pluto is only 4 billion miles away from earth.)

Small businesses often think they can’t compete with the big-box giants of yesteryear, but the dashboard will provide visual proof of the opportunity available to entrepreneurs. And while it’s generally pay-to-play, when it comes with search engine and social media ads, small businesses can turn to their loyal audiences and existing customers to help rack up record numbers this holiday season.

The dashboard will be live on November 23rd — head over to watch the numbers rack up in real time as small businesses across the globe feel the impact of Black Friday Cyber Monday.

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