05 Nov Black Friday: DON’T Beat the Morning Rush
For anyone who has ever worked in retail, just seeing the term “Black Friday” could send shivers down your spine. For those who haven’t, it brings images of hundreds of thousands of people storming the front doors of big box stores for the latest TV and ransacking toy shelves for the exact-outfit doll their kid desperately wants for Christmas. Some people love everything about the shopping holiday, some people avoid it at all costs.
Every year, stores try to figure out how to maximize their black Friday sales, how to get more people in the door, and how to sell the most merchandise. It’s part of the retail game. However, for small business owners where every single dollar spent is calculated and deliberate, it’s a different kind of a battle.
It’s hard for a small business to compete with the massive sales and people camping outside for a deal. Holding a big sale on Black Friday could end up doing more harm than good. It can be hard to attract crowds without the big marketing campaigns. However, those factors shouldn’t be limiting for small businesses. The Thanksgiving holidays can still be successful for a small business owner, if you play it your own way!
Customers are far more likely to spend more money in your store if they’re returning buyers. Black Friday tends to draw one-time customers looking for deals. But these one-day shoppers may not end up bringing in much long-term benefit. It’s important to remember your overall profit goals when considering Black Friday sales. When pricing out discounts, decide if your bottom line can handle a steep sale, even if it does bring in more one-time customers.
Don’t ignore Black Friday all together!
Promote Like Crazy: Special offers on one key item can be enough to bring in lots of new customers. But you have to promote it like crazy! For example if you have a bakery, offer a one-day sale on cupcakes, and give out small samples of a cookie to entice more sales of other products. Or for a bike shop, give a 5 or 10% sale on bikes, and then give coupons for discounted repairs for a year. Take what your product is, and find a special way to offer it during the holiday weekend.
Choose Your Own Hours: There’s also no reason to open at 6:00am on Black Friday. Everyone who’s into the deals have likely been shopping all night or will be hitting the big doorbuster sales at major retailers early in the morning. If you open later, you might attract more customers who are looking for a more simple experience than the mad house they might find elsewhere.
Maximize Black Friday on a Smaller Scale
Get Help From Your Community: To maximize Black Friday, you’ll want to look for help from your community. Many cities and counties have buy local efforts to help build the local economy. Check with your city to see what types of small business promotion events are going on. Then take advantage of the increased marketing exposure through those channels. Often, participating businesses give discounts to community members who sign up for information about buy local events. Types of events like these around the Thanksgiving weekend can bring in lots of new customers who will continue to return because of the good experience they have in your store.
Share Memorable Moments: Another way to bring more people in the door is through memorable experiences that become long-term traditions. People look for memorable experiences in their daily lives that they can share on Instagram or just with their family. Create memorable moments in your store that customers will remember. There’s hundreds of options you can do: having Santa on hand, having special holiday-themed merchandise, among many other options.
Consider Small Business Saturday
Choose Your Special Day: Small Business Saturday is an increasingly valuable counterpart to Black Friday for local businesses. Nationwide, there’s a growing focus on the small businesses that remain the backbone of the economy. American Express started the movement in 2010. They continue to provide resources like marketing tools, signs, templates, web badges, and much more that can be customized by every small business owner for their own needs. They also have a Small Business Locator Registry for shoppers to see what businesses are in their community. Many small businesses connect with one another to support each other online, and drive traffic through their social media channels.
You’ve heard the term “strength in numbers”? That’s also true when it comes to Small Business Saturday. Team up with other small businesses in your general area for a whole holiday weekend of sales and promotions strengthened by joint marketing power. It starts with something as simple as just putting a sign up in the window. But that can expand to other things like group coupons, community hashtags on social media, or other activities at every store to keep shoppers engaged.