Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping events of the year. The day has the most popular retailers in the US open their doors early and slash prices for hordes of discount-hungry shoppers.
Many small business owners are unsure about whether they should take part in Black Friday. It’s certainly an occasion dominated by the major retailers, but that doesn’t mean that your small business should pass on Black Friday completely.
Truth be told, the day has become so saturated, overhyped globally and even a little untrustworthy, that there are genuine opportunities for small businesses to stand out from the mayhem. You just need to know how to prepare for Black Friday properly.
So if you play to your advantages as a small business and follow our handy tips below, you too can have a share of the spoils this Black Friday.
You don’t have to discount your products
While the big retailers are dramatically slashing prices to get people through the door, you need to do something to stand out from the crowd.
The thing is, small businesses often try to compete directly with big companies by offering huge reductions – ones that can end up costing the business too much to justify the discounts. What’s more, without the same level of marketing power that the huge companies have, it’s difficult to attract a comparable amount of traffic.
Instead, why not find another way to offer incentives for your customers? You can offer free delivery with all purchases, or a free consultation with a particular product. If you run a restaurant, there is an abundance of ways to get people through the door – you could give out a free dessert with each meal. Or if your business is more service-based, you could tempt your clients with free installation on certain jobs.
Spread the Word
Remember, customers are inundated with promotional material during Black Friday, so if you’re going to stand out in a crowd, you need to find a unique way to grab their attention. Be sure to advertise your planned promotions through all your usual channels early. Start sending out newsletters and schedule your social media marketing now, then ramp this up even more on the days prior to the event.
Be Completely Prepared
You know your inventory better than anyone. If you plan to offer a discount that you’re sure you’ll sell, be sure to have the stock to back it up. The last thing you want is to run out of something that you should have available. A major reason for that is because you don’t want to miss out on sales, but equally, you also don’t want to frustrate shoppers.
Also, if a major part of your business is online, make sure you speak to your IT department – it would be a nightmare if a surge in traffic crashed your website.
Keep the customers in your store
Remember, shoppers are going crazy on Black Friday – this isn’t a slow Sunday where people wander lazily between stores. This is high octane shopping, where everybody is trying to squeeze in as many deals as possible. That’s why you need to grab your client’s attention and hook them in.
To help this, find a way to step up your level of service. Make sure that all your staff are prepped to provide a level of attention that will be memorable. Also, take the opportunity to provide food and refreshments – not only will it keep customers in the store, it will also provide a welcome respite from the crowded high street.
Keep everybody guessing
If you have a solid, loyal client base, you can tap into that to help have a successful Black Friday.
Let them know that you’re going to offer a surprise discount that’s only available in-store. The trick is to give them enough information to entice them to visit your premises, but not too much that it ruins the surprise.
You could sell an unidentified ‘mystery gift’. Tell them nothing but the RRP value, and sell it at a substantially discounted price. This is a great way to make use of stock that hasn’t been selling particularly well, but is still of quality.
In the end, you’re considered an underdog on Black Friday, so that means there are no expectations. So get involved, have fun and experiment with some different sales strategies. Even if it doesn’t work out the way you planned, if it is memorable for your customers and gets them talking, it will be worth it in the long run.
And if you're looking for some extra cash to get your Black Friday plans off the ground, you should check out a small business loan today!