The nights are getting shorter and summer is a thing of the past, which can mean only one thing; the Christmas shopping period is upon us. To kick-start this festive season in style, businesses all over the UK (and the rest of the world) will be taking part in one of the most important events in the retail calendar – Black Friday.
The small retailer has a lot going on day to day. Each department is busy and usually loaded up with more ideas than it has time to accomplish. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are pivotal times for most retailers. We’ve all heard the statistics that big box retailers do 50% of their annual revenue in these few days. This does not always hold true for many smaller eCommerce retailers.
Participating in Black Friday when you’re a small business owner can feel extremely overwhelming, particularly when some of the bigger retailers are offering huge discounts up to 70% off. You may be wondering how you’ll ever compete with such extreme discounts when it’s just not feasible for your business.
The first thing you’ll want to do is decide on the strategy you’ll use for your Black Friday promotion. We’ve devised a list of strategies suitable for small businesses that you can use as inspiration. Different strategies will work better for different businesses, so take a look at our suggestions below to see what you could do this Black Friday.
BE SELECTIVE WITH THE PRODUCTS YOU PROMOTE
It’s not feasible for small business to offer huge discounts on pretty much all of their products. Businesses such as Amazon can only do this because they buy in such huge quantities, meaning they have enormous profit margins that can afford to soak up the costs. Other retailers may be willing to take a loss during Black Friday so that they can acquire new customers that will be more beneficial in the long term. Instead, you should be very selective with the products you promote, pinpointing a handful that you’ll run offers on.
FEATURE A DIFFERENT PRODUCT OR SERVICE EVERY DAY
Following on from the previous tip, a great way to implement this strategy is by featuring a different product or service each day. Make each day of the week distinctly different and keep your customers coming back for more to find out what the next deal is. To do this, you’ll need to plan out your schedule and decide on the order in which your products will feature. Perhaps start and finish with your best products to create the most impact.
DISCOUNT OLD INVENTORY
Some businesses use Black Friday as a chance to shift of some of their older stock that’s just taking up space. This strategy is fairly low-cost and is a good way to make space for new products. Think of it as a glorified end-of-line sale.
OFFER A GENERIC SITE-WIDE DISCOUNT CODE
One of the easiest strategies to implement is a discount code that can be used across your entire site. All you have to do is set up the discount code ahead of your Black Friday promotion, adjusting the date and time to when it’ll go live. As we mentioned earlier, you probably can’t offer 30% off like the big retailers, but you could offer 10% or 20% off if you can afford to. It’s probably better to go down the route of carefully selecting a handful of products to promote, but we’re just putting this out as an option.
USE THE UPSELL STRATEGY
Black Friday presents the perfect opportunity for retailers to upsell and cross-sell products, increasing the average basket value per customer. If you’re not familiar with either term, then think about fast-food chain McDonalds. One of the most commonly known examples of upselling is when the cashier asks ‘would you like fries with that?’.
This strategy works well for high-ticket products that have relevant ‘add-ons’ that bring extra value. This concept is transferable to ecommerce, however, unfortunately you don’t have a cashier or sales assistant to ask offer the add-ons before at the point of purchase. You’ll be missing out on the chance to increase sales and maximise your profits.
Consider running a discount on some of your ‘big-ticket’ items that have relevant add-ons and accessories to go with them. The discount will be enough to entice your customers, then once they’ve landed on the product page, display the relevant products to go with it using ‘related products’. The fact they’ve already saved on the original product will encourage them to buy the relevant accessories with you.
Offering freebies is pretty much the opposite of up-selling. It’s another way of providing added value to your customers, however this time, you offer the add-on for free instead.
If you go with this strategy, stick with your normal product pricing but throw a freebie in there to make the deal more enticing. It’s not quite the same as bigger retailers offering 30% off, however it’s a nice incentive that can increase conversions for businesses on a tight budget.
REWARD YOUR LOYAL CUSTOMERS
While Black Friday is great for acquiring new customers, it’s also the perfect chance to reward your loyal ones for supporting your small business. Did you know that it costs five times as much to attract new customers as it does to retain existing ones? Not only does rewarding customer loyalty show your utmost appreciation, it also brings you direct revenue.
The best way to do this is to set up an email marketing campaign that you’ll only send to customers that have purchased from you previously. Within this email, include a discount code that’s exclusive to them this Black Friday, with engaging copy thanking them for supporting you. This will make them feel highly valued, and will encourage them to come back to your online shop.
ENSURE YOUR SITE IS MOBILE-FRIENDLY
In 2017, around 50% of Black Friday sales were made using a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. Therefore, it’s so important that your site is geared up for mobile, and the shopping experience is just as smooth as it would be on desktop. If you don’t already use a mobile responsive theme, then it might be a good idea to update it to one that is in time for Black Friday.
GOOD LUCK, KEEP CALM AND ENJOY IT
We wish you all the best with your Black Friday Cyber Monday event and may it be a successful one.