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5 Black Friday Tips for Small Businesses

Black Friday is the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season (although, it seems like that season is starting earlier every year). It’s always the day after Thanksgiving; this year that’s November 23, 2018.

Big businesses tend to dominate Black Friday, but that doesn’t mean you have to shy away from it, wait for Small Business Saturday, and cross your fingers that your customers aren’t all shopped-out from the day before.

If you don’t want to have Black Friday sales, Small Business Saturday sales, and Cyber Monday sales, roll them all together for a massive weekend celebrating the beginning of the holiday shopping season.

1. Start Planning Now

Like any other sale or marketing campaign, the earlier you start planning, the smoother it will run. So, start figuring out

  • what sales and discounts you’re going to offer;
  • when you’re going to offer them (all weekend, only for the first few hours, etc.);
  • how to prepare your employees for the sales; and
  • how to tell your customers to come in and save big.

2. Offer Social Media Deals

You’ve spent a lot of time and energy growing your social media following and email newsletter list. Now’s the time to take advantage of that. Consider offering exclusive deals just for your social media followers or newsletter recipients. Your customers will feel like they’re part of an exclusive club, so they’ll run right to your store.

3. Encourage Your Customers to Share and Tag

While your customers are in store shopping (or after they’ve received their online orders), encourage them to share pictures on their own social media profiles (tagging you and using your hashtag). Your customers will be able to create some hype, and you’ll have tons of user-generated content to use on your own profiles in the future.

4. Don’t Try to Compete with Big Brands

Like I said earlier, big brands (think Walmart, Target, and Amazon) tend to dominate Black Friday. They buy a whole lot more products at once, so they can offer huge discounts. They’re even comfortable taking a loss on some products because they know they’ll more than make up for it on something else.

Don’t try to compete with that. When you’re deciding what discounts to offer, make sure you’re not offering something that will put you in the red.

Big brands also seem to have a bad habit of starting Black Friday earlier and earlier. Some even start on Thanksgiving. Don’t do that to your staff; let them enjoy the day with their families.

You might consider opening your store a little earlier than normal but opening at 3AM is probably ridiculous. Most people that are shopping that early are going to big stores and standing in line for specific items. If you open too early, you’ll end up with an empty store and tired and grumpy employees.

5. Ask Your Customers What They Want

While we’re talking about choosing what discounts to offer, why don’t you go straight to the source? Ask your customers and followers what they want. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all let you post polls, so you can ask your followers if they’d prefer a discount off their entire order or specific items.

How is your small business participating in Black Friday this year?