Black Friday: preparation tips for small businesses

As we edge towards another Black Friday event, many retailers are getting prepared for the onslaught of customers to their shops and online stores. The American tradition didn’t make its way over to the UK until relatively recently but it has caused mayhem for some retailers since its introduction over here, leading to some brands pulling out of the event altogether.

Regardless of your opinion on Black Friday, if your business is going to participate in it, then you should make sure you are as prepared as you possibly can be. Like Christmas and the sales period that follows, it takes a lot of preparation to pull off a successful event for you, your customers and your profit margins.

Some ways that you can prepare for the Black Friday sales event include:

Marketing offers

Firstly, you want to create some excitement and publicity around your Black Friday events and the best way to do this is to market your deals like you would do with any other promotions. Make use of email and social media marketing, this is probably the best way to target potential Black Friday customer as you will need to be able to compete with the myriad of other deals and events going on.

The internet is also the place where most people do their Black Friday shopping as not everyone has the opportunity to get to the shops. Make use of the #BlackFriday hashtag on Twitter or create your own, use sites like Instagram to showcase pictures of products and make sure you interact with people via social channels especially if they are enquiring into the deals you have available.

Ensure your site can handle increased visitor numbers

If you have done your marketing right then you should be experiencing high numbers of visitors to your website but all that extra traffic can lead to problems. One of those problems could be your website crashing, it’s happened to the big retailers in the past so it could happen to anyone.

Try and improve your website if you can but if not produce an error page that will inform customers of what to do if they can’t access to your website. Provide a phone number, email address and social media links so customers can get in touch with you that way. By helping your customers, you are much more likely to retain their custom and not lose potential business.

black friday small businesses

Image via bbc.co.uk

Consider your staff

Your staff are very important when it comes to getting through Black Friday, making it profitable for you and providing great service to your customer. You may need to ask them to work extra hours over the course of the day, and the surrounding days, to deal with stock and any packages. As a result of good work and extra hours, you may want to offer your staff rewards as a thank you such as time in lieu, extra pay or a discount on products.

Keep an eye on what people want

What are the hot products that people want to get their hands on? What are the must-have toys for this Christmas? What are other retailers planning on discounting and how much by? By compiling as much data as possible you can make the best decision on what you should be discounting for your Black Friday campaign.

As much as discounts are welcome, sales will only flow in if what is discounted is exactly what people want to buy. Once you’ve discovered the goods that you are going to be discounting, it is time to work out how much you will be discounting them by in order to maintain a good profit margin but also to entice customers to buy your discounted goods over another company’s.

Check your stock!

Make sure you have the stock available in warehouses or stock rooms so that you can fulfil orders for your customers. If you are a shop, you will need plenty of stock of the discounted goods on the shelves with replacements available close to hand in case you run out. For online businesses, you will need plenty in storage to rely upon for a quick turnaround time in getting deliveries out to customers.

Some customers have complained in the past about the length of time they have waited for deliveries of their Black Friday deals. It’ll mean a lot of extra work from your staff and working closely with your chosen distribution company but it will be worth it to be able to make your customers happy and satisfied with your service.

These are the five main areas to keep in mind when your business is preparing for Black Friday or any other major retailing event. Preparation is always key to making the day a success for your business as is making sure that people are aware of the events and offers you have going on.

There is not long left until this year’s event so if you are taking part this year, get planning!

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