What Small Businesses Should Know About Black Friday
Black Friday is the start of the Christmas shopping season in the United States, giving shoppers a chance to find deals the day after Thanksgiving.
Some businesses, however, are getting a jump on Black Friday — the Friday following Thanksgiving Day — and start sales Thursday on Thanksgiving Day.
SBS vs Black Friday
Whatever day it starts, Black Friday
differs from Small Business Saturday
. As its name implies, it’s held two days after Thanksgiving on a Saturday and is meant to support small businesses.
The early start to Black Friday has upset some consumers and workers who would rather enjoy Thanksgiving Day at home with their families instead of working or shopping among the crowds.
In 2014, many small businesses fought back against the mass consumerism of the holiday weekend by staying closed for that Thursday and Friday, according to Inc.com
. Some of the small businesses were fined for closing.
Small businesses that want to partake in Black Friday can do some work ahead of time to attract customers. Here are some ideas:Build a Mobile App:
It may be too late to build a shopping app for their store website in November, but businesses can get ahead of the game for next year by paying attention to what shoppers need and want this year. If an app is useful to customers all year long, it doesn’t matter when it’s introduced.
Mobilize Your Website:
Even if they’re out shopping, consumers will continue using their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices to research and purchase products. Small business owners can prepare for this by having their website optimized for mobile use, particularly on smartphones.
Beat The Clock:
Small businesses can have a harder time competing on price than larger retailers, so giving shoppers a sense of urgency can signal anticipation and scarcity. Let shoppers know that deals are limited, such as by having a flash sale for one or two hours or for a certain number of items in stock.
Review Last Year:
Gather your sales data from last year around Black Friday and see which deals and discounts worked. Use that data to predict how much inventory you’ll need this year.
Focus On Your Strengths:
Again, a small business is unlikely to beat a large competitor on price, so it can be better off emphasizing its customer service, product expertise and other core competencies as a business. A small business can also pull at the heartstrings of shoppers by telling them in emails and on a company website that the small business appreciates their support and is happy to help with a personal touch.
Create a Gift Guide:
Shoppers are looking for gift giving advice, and a small business can provide it with a wish-list either in-store or online of unique gifts it offers. Showcase these items throughout the store with a list of related items for every type of gift recipient — from grandchildren to parents and friends at the office.
A small business may not be able to afford live support year-round, but during the holiday season a small online support team can help a small business answer customers’ questions.
However you plan to deal with Black Friday as a small business, think of it as a chance to at least introduce potential customers to your business. Put your best foot forward and they’ll hopefully follow you into the new year.