As the song goes, they say Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year… but for many, Christmas shopping isn’t. Many larger companies take advantage of the buying frenzy around this time of year, utilising days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday to offer huge discounts, to encourage customers to buy more and spend with them.

But how can small, local businesses get involved, without being overwhelmed? At B&D Prints, we’ve created a Black Friday guide for small businesses, looking to take part in some of the busiest shopping days of the year (even during a global pandemic).

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday is a fairly new concept. It’s probably been around since 2014 and originated in the US (are we surprised?). As usual, it seems to be a much larger affair in America, but the trend soon caught on in the UK. It was originally about retailers making a big impact at the start of a busy buying season, but has now simply become a fight to show who has the best discounts. This year, Black Friday falls on Friday 26th November.

Many buyers are skeptical of Black Friday / Cyber Monday because studies have shown that the discounts aren’t even worth it. According to Which?, 95% of discounts investigated were available at the same price, or even cheaper, in the months following on from the sales.

What’s Cyber Monday?

Following Black Friday (falling on Monday 29th November this year), Cyber Monday is usually the first Monday after Black Friday. It tends to be an online event (although companies still run discounts and offers in-store too) and is aimed at workers who weren’t able to take advantage of Black Friday deals.

In reality, there’s no real difference between the two days, with so many businesses running Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals throughout the end of November, into the start of December.

Black Friday marketing tips and ideas

Don’t put pressure on your customers

As a small business, you don’t want to put too much pressure on your customers (or yourself) during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you want to offer a great deal, that’s awesome – but don’t do it to the detriment of your health or your customers’ time. Many larger companies start their Black Friday deals at ridiculous times in the morning, creating a sense of urgency that customers feel the need to get up before work and get the best deals. As a small business, you don’t want to create those feelings of fear within your customers. You also won’t be able to compete with the deals they’re offering – and you’ll be able to reach out to those customers who missed out on the early morning madness.

Make customers aware of your deals before Black Friday

Lots of larger stores start capitalising on Black Friday about a week before, starting their deals off slow and then having the biggest discounts on the actual day. As a small business, you don’t have to do this. You can choose different products to promote or discount – but always keep in mind your profit margins and only discount what you can afford. You may gain new customers from offering a discount, but always remember not to sacrifice your profit margins for a cheap deal. Customers who are looking for a high discount probably won’t remain loyal customers in the long run, as they weren’t willing to pay your higher prices.

Take a look at your old stock or past season stock 

As a small business, you can’t afford to keep old stock for long, as it takes up space and starts getting dusty on your shelves. Use these products as your Black Friday sale. You can offer a heftier discount on them – and it means you can wave goodbye to old stock that won’t shift.

Use your bigger products to upsell

Upselling is an ideal way to promote more of your products. On Black Friday, consider discounting some of your items that require additional purchases. Think lamps that need bulbs, toys that need batteries, or flowers that would be even sweeter with a box of chocolates. This is a great way to make profit on your larger items, but still manage to sell your smaller ones.

Work with other local businesses

Christmas is the season of good will and where better to start with that, than with other local businesses in your area? As a small business, you have to work harder to be heard and promote yourself; other local businesses will have the same issue, so working as one can be a great way to promote yourselves successfully. Whether that’s teaming up to create a direct mail campaign, like a leaflet drop, or dabbling in some local PR.

Extend your deals past Black Friday

Don’t go with the crowd. Larger businesses will push their best offers in a short time period. As a small business, this might not work financially for you, so you could think about promoting great offers throughout November, then discounting more heavily in December.

Be loyal to your customers 

As a small business, you’ve probably got a loyal set of customers, who freely promote your products on their social media channels, regularly purchase from you, and keep coming back for me. Now it’s time for you to be loyal to them. Set up an email marketing campaign that offers them an exclusive discount or even give them a product for free.

Get charitable

If you’re not keen on the idea of feeding into the Black Friday frenzy, why not take a different tact? For instance, you could say with every purchase, you’ll donate 10% to your chosen charity – this works especially well if you’re a restaurant or café. For every meal or drink bought, you’ll donate food to the local homeless shelter or food bank. There are lots of ways to give back around Christmas and your customers may see that as more of an incentive to buy.

If you’re a Lancashire business looking to make an impact this festive season, contact one of our friendly team members today for more information on marketing promotion.