For retail businesses, Black Friday is a pretty big deal. Next to Christmas, it’s the biggest sale event of the year.

In 2018, South Africans spent more than R2,8 billion on Black Friday deals. In fact, 66% of local consumers took part in the one-day spending spree.

As a small business, competing against big brands and large eCommerce sites can seem pretty daunting and the stock investment needed to meet demand can be considerable. Unfortunately, not taking part in Black Friday can mean missing out on huge profits.

We’ve put together some advice on how you can prepare for Black Friday in your business right now.

Make an offer they can’t refuse

Black Friday comes round once a year. Customers are waiting in anticipation for unmissable offers to hit their Inbox and your loyal customers will be checking your website to see what special offers you have in store. You have one chance to snatch that business out of your competitor’s hands, so you better make it worthwhile.

Shoppers are looking for big discounts on luxury items and gifts. Many already know what they want and will be looking for that once-in-a-lifetime deal. Do a little research around the type of discounts offered for products like yours and make sure your offer stands out from the rest.

It’s not only retail businesses that can benefit from Black Friday. Professional and business services can leverage the day to offer discounts or even launch a loyalty or reward programme aimed to improve repeat business. You can also introduce time-limited value-added services that incentivise customers to do business with you sooner.

Put together a marketing campaign

Now that you have an offer worth shouting about, you need to make sure your audience is going to see it. There are several traditional and digital marketing activities you can use to ensure maximum exposure.

  • Speak to your customers to start spreading the word around your offer.
  • Print a flyer to hand out at major traffic intersections.
  • Use your database and send out an email to put the offer right in your customer’s inbox.
  • Leverage your social media accounts by boosting posts to a targeted audience.
  • Dedicate a small budget to Google Paid Ads to ensure your product appears first for certain Google search terms.
  • If your budget allows, a radio ad is a great way to gather national attention.

Take part in Small Business Saturday

Saturday 30 November is Small Business Saturday in the United States. The initiative was started as a way to support local communities and allow smaller businesses to compete against bigger brands dominating Black Friday.

If you’re worried your promotional offers will be lost in all the Black Friday noise, it might not be a bad idea to focus on Small Business Saturday instead. Send your valued customers an email explaining the initiative and give them a head’s up on your special offers. Use your network to get other local businesses involved. Not only will this create a feeling of goodwill around the event, but it also opens you up to a whole new pool of customers.

Reaching out personally to your community might mean the difference between a normal trading day and a record-breaking one.

Visit https://smallbusinesssaturday.co.za/ to find out more about how Small Business Saturday is celebrated in South Africa.

Make sure your online store is ready

The worst possible thing that could happen after all the effort spent marketing your great Black Friday offer, is that your website crashes from the sudden spike in traffic. The cost of your website crashing will not only be measured in lost sales, but also in reputation. Last year hundreds of Twitter users took to the platform to air their grievances around eCommerce sites crashing throughout the day. Many well-known brands had to issue public apologies for the bad experience felt on their sites.

Make sure your IT team have a plan in place for this worst-case scenario. You don’t want customers to experience slow-loading pages or a broken payment gateway. Test, test and test again, and make sure your tech team is on hand on the day and know exactly what to do.

Take advantage of short term-finance

Applying for short-term business finance to stock up on inventory and boost marketing activities can be a relatively inexpensive option in the run-up to Black Friday, especially if you are expecting a big return on sales.

Look for funding options that don’t charge early repayment or cancellation fees. That way if you pay back your funding early, you won’t lose out on the deal.

At Lulalend, we charge a fixed monthly cost, which means you can take out funding over a short period of time and only pay for what you use.

For example, if you took out bridging finance for R100 000 and repaid in full after 1 month, this would only cost you R4500 (based on our average Lulalend risk scoring). No hidden fees. It’s totally transparent. Try our free funding calculator to work out exactly what your finance costs will be.

Want to read more on this topic? Read last year’s popular post about preparing for Black Friday here.

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