If you don’t have a small business Black Friday plan yet, there’s still time.
According to the National Retail Federation, holiday spending will increase and total holiday sales will top $730 billion for 2019. Many small businesses find Black Friday is one of their biggest shopping days of the year.
Brands with a tangible plan benefit the most. Here’s how to ensure your small business Black Friday success.
Examine Past Data
Now is a great time to look at past Black Friday sales numbers. Data can help you make key decisions about ordering inventory, scheduling staff and determining the best hours of operation. Look at what sold the most, the timeframes you were busiest and which channels customers used. Did anything break down? For example, if long lines hamstrung sales due to light staffing early in the morning, use that intel to change the way you approach planning for 2019.
Work Your Email List
Leveraging your email list is a great way to cut through holiday advertising noise and get your most important messages right in customers’ inboxes. Take these steps to make the most of your email list:
- Warm up the list before Black Friday. If your list has been languishing, send out at least one message before the holiday and tease big deals, exclusive content and other selling points.
- Be strategic with timing. You don’t want to fatigue your list, but remember that sending a few emails spaced before and during Black Friday will keep your brand top of mind.
- Segment your email list to help make messaging as relevant as possible.
Plan Your Social Campaign
Social media lets you connect with busy customers. Plan your strategy now. November is the perfect time to create posts, source images and schedule content ahead of time. That way, even when your team is focused on other things, your social presence will run smoothly throughout the shopping period around Black Friday. Diversify your content. Feature your best deals and consider exclusive doorbusters to get social fans buying online or into the store. Mix in a bit of humor, fun seasonal posts and a touch of personality. Customers will remember that you helped lower their stress.
Get Inventory In-Store
You can’t sell items that you don’t have on hand. Evaluate your inventory now, and place orders well ahead of demand. If you’re struggling with cash flow, consider a short-term business loan. Funding can help you get the goods in stock to meet customer needs on Black Friday and beyond. Look at your historical data to see what’s likely to sell. You can also gather market intelligence on what influencers are discussing and what customers are asking about for the upcoming holiday season.
Stress Test Your Digital Systems
One of the biggest myths about small business Black Friday planning is that your focus should be entirely in-store. Consumers unwilling to brave the crowds shop online and look for deals ahead of Cyber Monday. Now is a great time to stress test your digital systems and fix issues. Upgrade your hosting to support traffic bursts, explore features such as scheduling your newsletter and remove friction from your order process. If you’re adding new features, such as accepting different payment types, get that resolved and fully tested now.
Create Gift Guides
Holiday shoppers are often stressed about what gifts to give. What do you get for the boss who has everything? Is there a gift a picky teenager is sure to love? Consider highlighting your products and offerings with gift guides that can inspire buyers and get them through your door on Black Friday. Your website, social media, email newsletter and print mailings — as well as in-store printouts — are all great ways to repackage this content.
Choose One Showstopper Deal
Getting people into your store or website is often the biggest small business Black Friday challenge. Consider offering one deal customers can’t refuse. Early bird giveaways, steep one-day discounts, exclusive bundles and value-add packages are all great ways to get audiences interested and engaged.
If you don’t have a small business Black Friday strategy in place, don’t panic. There’s still plenty of time to get your inventory, staffing and marketing aligned to make a big splash and have a profitable day. Whether you just need time to plan, or if a cash flow infusion from a small business loan would help, do the work now. You’ll have happy customers, increased revenues and smoother operations on retail’s biggest day of the year.