Though originally considered an American tradition, since 2010, Black Friday has quickly become one of the biggest shopping events of the year, only beaten to the top spot by Christmas (of course!). For businesses, Black Friday is a valuable opportunity to boost your sales before the end of the year, and get your customers in the mood for spending, just in time for Christmas.
If you’re unsure of where to start, our guide will take you through everything you need to know, from marketing to gift guides, we’ve got you covered.
What is Black Friday and Why is Black Friday Good for Businesses?
The term “Black Friday” was first used in 1869, when two investors drove up the price of gold, causing the market to crash and prices to plummet. It is celebrated every year after Thanksgiving in the US, in the final weekend of November, and traditionally marks the start of the Christmas shopping season.
With an estimated £3.95 billion to be spent in UK stores over the Black Friday weekend, it really is an opportunity not to be missed. It gives businesses a chance to clear old stock and make way for new Christmas products, as well as acquire new customers drawn in by low prices.
Things to Consider When Planning for Black Friday
As with any big event on the retail calendar, Black Friday requires careful planning and a clear strategy to avoid any hiccups. But remember, Black Friday is not just for retail businesses! There are plenty of ways businesses of all industries can get involved.
Here is our list of top things to consider when preparing for Black Friday for businesses:
- What are people buying?
Historically, best-selling categories have included electricals, home décor, household appliances and Christmas gifts. Look at your performance in previous years and the products you currently sell and decide which ones you want to focus your sale on.
- Do you have enough stock to meet projected demand?
The last thing you want to do is run out of your bestsellers in the first few hours of your sale, as this could lead to footfall tapering off and subsequently, sales too.
- Do you have enough staff to meet demand?
If you are going to be seeing a surge in customers, it may be wise to rota a few extra staff over the sale period to help cope with demand and ensure your high standard of customer service remains.
- Check out the competition!
If you’re unsure of the best strategy to adopt, try taking a look at your competitors, what works for them will likely work for you.
- Test out your website:
If you trade online, make sure you test your website before your sale goes live, to ensure it can cope with extra traffic.
- Don’t forget about the basics!
It may sound obvious but more sales = more carrier bags, takeout cups, or packaging needed, so make sure you have plenty on hand. You might even consider having a limited range of packaging or promotional graphics advertising your sale.
Advertising Your Business’ Black Friday Sale
The best plan of action will depend on your individual business type, size, industry and trading method (online or in-person), but regardless of these factors, advertising your sale is the most important thing you can do – there’s no point having a meticulously planned out strategy if no one knows about it!
Social media is a powerful tool that can be utilised by any business type to spread awareness of your Black Friday sale, as well as build excitement with sneak peeks at your upcoming offers. A tried and tested method of increasing engagement and boosting your reach, is by using hashtags. You can stick to the classics such as #blackfriday2023 to improve the chances of being seen by a larger audience or create your own hashtag to encourage user-generated content from your customers!
Another great way to get the word out about your sale, is with a customer newsletter. Focus your October or November issue around Black Friday, highlighting your best offers and deals and giving customers access to early savings.
If you have a physical premises, dressing for the occasion can go a long way. Think window stickers, posters, A boards, banners. Some businesses even go all-out with balloon arches in their doorways and mascots handing out flyers! However you decide to do it, decorating can be a great way to entice customers into your business and get them in the mood for spending.
For online-operating businesses, you can also try some digital decorating, such as a ‘countdown to sale’ timer on the landing page of your website or a running banner along the tops of your pages showcasing current offers and deals.
Get your business in the press! If you’ve got a good black Friday offer, try researching local press and publications, and find out if anyone is featuring a Black Friday Round Up. These articles list the best deals, and sometimes will list your business for free if they think your deal is particularly beneficial for their readers.
For B2B businesses, advertising your sale may look a little different. Try to utilise your existing network to spread the word to your partners and clients. For example, personalised emails sent to your buyers, tailored towards their purchasing habits, is a great way to target your sale towards specific clients.
B2B businesses can also utilise paid advertising to target key demographics of buyers, ensuring that your adverts are seen by the right people in the right places.
A good way to target a captive audience is to advertise your sale via your phone lines, for example; when a buyer calls and are left on hold for a short period of time, you can break up your hold music by recording an advertisement showcasing some of your top deals. You could also task your sales agents with promoting your offers or upselling when making outbound calls.
Consider your ‘key messaging’, for example, if your sale is limited to a certain number of customers, you could use phrases such as ‘limited numbers only’ or ‘don’t miss out!’ to prompt your customers to act now. Similarly, as Black Friday sales typically only last for a short period of time, messages such as ‘hurry, limited time only!’ will also encourage customers to make their purchases before the deals run out.
Black Friday Inspiration for Your Businesses
To really stand out amongst the crowd, you need to think outside the box. Competition on Black Friday for businesses is fierce! Here are some of our top ideas for creating an exciting Black Friday sale:
- Gift guides – Many people will be shopping for Christmas presents in the Black Friday sales, so creating a handy gift guide showcasing your products can be helpful for both you and the customer. Things like ‘X Gifts for Him/Her’ or ‘A Guide to Buying Gifts for Teenagers’ always go down well with consumers. These can be in either printed or digital form.
- Tactical Discounts – Use your discounts and special offers to your advantage – this could mean discounting certain products that you want to remove from your shelves or offering customers a percentage off the total cost, when they spend a certain amount – encouraging higher spends.
- Loyalty schemes – If you don’t already have one, try introducing a loyalty scheme, this could be in the form of a stamp card or a points system which gives customers money off, a voucher, or a free treatment once they have spent a certain amount of money. This encourages customers to return and make more purchases in the future.
- Vouchers for next time – Encourage returning customers by offering discounts to be used on future purchases or bookings (after your Black Friday sale has ended). Not only will this draw customers back in, but it will also encourage spending when your sale is over.
- Hourly Discounts – Rather than having the same discount/sale on for the whole weekend, introducing hourly discounts will keep customers coming back to see if they can grab an even better deal.
- Referral Discounts – A great way of spreading the word about your business is by utilising the loyalty of your existing customers. Give them discount cards to pass on to friends – Make sure there is an incentive for doing so, such as bonus points on a loyalty card or a discount for themselves too. People are much more likely to take their custom to a new business if recommended by a trusted friend.
- Offer freebies – Another way to boost the amount a customer spends is to offer a small freebie when they spend a certain amount. This could be a free dessert when purchasing a meal, free conditioning treatment with certain haircuts, or any other small gift that is relevant to your business and your products.
- Work with influencers – Boost your sales and reach new audiences by working with influencers who have a similar audience to you. Be sure to pick influencers that are relevant to your brand and will help your business gain credibility with new potential customers.
- Games and competitions – Shake up your sale with some fun games for your customers. This could be lucky dip, spin the wheel, scratch cards etc, as long as it encourages customers to get involved and have some fun.
- Mystery Boxes – Everyone loves a surprise and mystery boxes are an exciting way to add a little fun to your sale! Create a bundle of items, calculate their retail value, and then sell your mystery box at a discounted rate. (Make sure you advertise the RRP, so customers know how much they’re saving!)
- Surprise checkout discounts – (This one is mainly for online retailers, but you can apply similar tactics to in-person businesses too!) To help reduce the likelihood of abandoned shopping carts, try using pop-up discounts that appear on the checkout page to help push customers through to making their purchase. For example, offering free shipping or the chance to ‘spin the wheel’ to win a bonus discount.
Black Friday Ideas for Businesses by Business Type
Although often seen as a retail -only event, Black Friday can be good for businesses of all industries, giving you a chance to boost your bottom line and reach new customers. Here is a list of ideas for non-retail businesses to give you some Black Friday inspo:
- Hair and beauty – Offer a percentage off the price of certain treatments, discounts on bundle treatments or free products/samples when customers spend a certain amount.
- Food businesses – Make your business stand out amongst the crowd by offering shoppers a break from the high street hustle and bustle. Try marketing your business as a peaceful and welcoming environment or provide ‘shopping fuel’ for those engaging in some retail therapy.
- Service-based industries – Bundle services together to give customers a discount, encouraging higher spends.
- Leisure/fitness businesses – Offer long-term memberships at reduced prices, helping you gain and retain customers while rewarding loyalty.
- Training and Adult Learning – Consider offering a free ‘taster’ session, or so many classes at a discounted rate. Once someone has signed onto your course, they’re likely to stay for the duration!
- Automotive – Offer a free car wash, or similar service, when people book an MOT or repair over a certain amount.
- Manufacturing – Give customers the chance to win a free order worth X amount, when they place an order for a certain number of items or over a certain value.
- SaaS – Use Black Friday to cross sell or upsell other products. Could you offer a discount on one product for existing users of another product? Or a free 30-day trial of the next package up?
Black Friday for Businesses – The Ideal Pre-Christmas Boost
No matter what your business type, Black Friday is the perfect opportunity for a pre-Christmas boost. With careful planning and thorough preparation, Black Friday can bring in new customers and extra sales.
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