No matter how you feel about Black Friday, it is coming and it is still one of the busiest shopping days in the retail calendar on both sides of the Atlantic. This year Black Friday is falling on November 29th which for many will be just after pay day. Many businesses will be stepping up their Black Friday sales to get a bigger share of consumer spending.
With the number of Black Friday shoppers increasing year on year, how do businesses approach Black Friday in such a saturated market?
In reality there are two main options - either stand out or stand down. Stand out to get the biggest share of consumer spending as possible or stand down and save your discounts for Christmas sales.
However you choose to protect your margins and retain customers, essentially you need to be highly strategic in Q4 to protect your profit margins and create conversions.
Here are 10 Top Tips:
1. Get ahead of the curveand start planning for Black Friday now. Shoppers will start holiday shopping and researching for Black Friday sales in October. Plan your products and promotional calendar, marketing emails etc.
2. Be competitive and apply the right discounts. Consumers are becoming increasingly immune to discounts - they are used to getting 15%-20% off all year round so 20% off on Black Friday means very little. Use you landing page to clearly display your discounts.
3. Offer targeted promotions instead of site-wide sales to protect profit margins. Some businesses that offer massive discounts not only risk their profits but also stock shortages in the middle of the shopping season.
4. Don't discount for the sake of Black Friday. Looking at trends from Prime day a few months ago, research shows that "while discounted products saw the largest average period-over-period revenue increases (+820%), the roughly 59% of products in the sample that were not discounted over Prime Day still saw average revenue growth of +496%". These stats show that whilst discounts help, people were generally in the buying mood. We can expect the same for Black Friday.
5. Black Friday is not just a day of sales but a weekend long event. To keep the customers and the sales coming, make sure your extend your sale until Cyber Monday.
6. Prepare for a huge spike in traffic by keeping your server speed and check out process in check - no one has the patience for a slow site and you don't wan't to lose sales and or valuable future custom. If you can google 'page speed insight' and check the speed of your website.
7. If you can't compete with the big businesses then create interest in your business by sacrificing old inventory -if you're a beauty site you could give away an item from old inventory for every customer who spends £10/$10 or more. Not only will you be able to get rid of old stock but customers will get to sample your products too.
8. Donate all or portions of your BF sales to Charity.
9. Do nothing. Don't participate in and save the discounts for Christmas instead. IKEA, Asda and M&S, Selfridges, Apple, Next and Primark are just some of the brands who have opted out of some BF events.
10. Internalise #4 - it's not just about discounts!
There is no right or wrong way to do Black Friday. As consumers we know we are going to be completely bombarded by companies competing to give us the best offers but that doesn't necessarily mean we aren't going to spend our money. In essence, consumers are looking for great value for money - whether it's on Black Friday or Christmas sales or whether our money goes to charity or goes to line profit margins.
>> A Look Inside Jersey Beauty Company with Director, Michelle Dunbar <<
Michelle shares her views on Black Friday and explains why Jersey Beauty Company didn't participate in Black Friday last year.
Michelle's view is that consumers have huge expectations when it comes to Black Friday. They expect offers and wait for that extended period of sales from Black Friday to Cyber Monday and the rest of the October and Novembers they purchase very little., This has a very negative impact on business.
When Black Friday first came to the UK there was lots of hype and we saw Amazon, supermarkets and lots of other companies jump on the bandwagon. Now there is a growing feeling of brand fatigue where businesses are feeling pressured to participate even if it comes at a cost to their business. They face costs such as extra labour, extra marketing, extra products all with great pressure to sell and make the same profit.
Jersey Beauty Company didn't participate in Black Friday last year because it didn't make sense for the business. They didn't have as many orders as they had in previous years when they did participate but they were far more profitable on Black Friday last year than they were in previous years.
Michelle strongly suggests that as a business you need to make the best decision for what is right for your business. You can offer deals and discounts in the days before Black Friday and still finish strong in Q4.