High Streets Initiative 23 November 2017

Seven last-minute startup tips ahead of Black Friday weekend

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Is your business Black Friday ready?

By promoting deals strategically, your retail startup will bring in a huge profit on Black Friday and over the following days, writes SEO executive at Distinctly, Lewis Koch.

For startups, Black Friday weekend can feel overwhelming. It’s easy to compare your business with the giant retailers battling it out with huge slashes in prices, that startups and micro businesses simply can’t begin to compete with.

You imagine any effort will be futile, drowned out by the noise of the extravagant advertising campaigns that big name retailers bombard consumers with.

In reality, there are many ways a startup can benefit from the vast number of consumers shopping over Black Friday weekend.

Last year, between 13 November and 24 December, £25bn was spent online in the UK, which makes Black Friday weekend an opportunity you can’t afford to miss, whatever the size of your business.

Use divergent thinking to re-invent ideas from big companies

Many large companies have a plan for Black Friday weekend, and it can be beneficial to see how they get crowds of people literally knocking their shop doors down to grab a bargain.

There isn’t a large chain of command to go through with a micro business, so owners can be more flexible and creative than leaders at larger companies. Learn what you can from the big corporations and re-invent their ideas to make them your own, within a budget you can afford.

Small retailers eye Black Friday success with one in four set to participate

Gain consumer interest without slashing prices

Black Friday weekend gains momentum by the huge discounts that big companies offer. This means that your micro business will have to think imaginatively, using new ideas.

You do not need to slash your prices so much that you can’t make a profit. You could offer free postage, vouchers for money off, or free samples as an alternative to price reductions.

One worry is that Black Friday weekend simply drags demand forward for the Christmas buying season, and that means it might wipe out profits for the rest of the Christmas season.

If you seek to create new customers, you won’t sacrifice profit in sales that might have been made anyway. Create a balance with new customers to see an overall increase in sales during the season.

Use social media

With growing popularity of the Facebook Live video broadcast feature, you can host a customer appreciation party or a virtual sales celebration through the social media platform.

Generate an event on the business page and invite fans and followers to share it. Enticing customers to share a deal with their social media network offers free marketing to a large network.

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Double up your email game

Email marketing offers startups a cost-effective way to promote your business and Black Friday deals. There are many email marketing software tools out there that are affordable and easy to use.

You can offer additional incentives to share the email such as a discount or a small gift that increases the value of the original purchase. Double your game by providing genuine value followed by a great offer, leading them to your Black Friday landing page.

Amazon for example runs some of the most successful email campaigns in the business world. Every email that Amazon sends out is customised to the shopper it is sent to, for example.

Four tips to create a marketing email

  • Include a clear call to action
  • Offer incentives for fast action
  • Include eye-catching imagery
  • Create a sense of urgency with a countdown timer

Personalisation is key

This is where a micro business can have an advantage over the giant retailers. As a small business, you will know your local area and consumers better than any big corporation.

Target your promotions and personalise your emails to everyone that you send it to. Take advantage of the fact that many customers are shying away from the giant retailers’ mass production in favour of more personal, bespoke, handmade items .

Optimise for Black Friday weekend

The online world can be tough for small businesses, however, by focusing on search terms and ensuring a website is compatible with mobile devices, smaller businesses can succeed. Aim to create the easiest mobile experience, understanding search behaviour and optimising for keywords.

In a recent survey by Paypal, consumers said the lack of a mobile-friendly website was their number one frustration when buying something on their smartphone.

When you add to this the fact that almost one third of Brits say they expect to use their mobile to shop more often in the next 12 months, it is now critical that retailers ensure that their websites are optimised for use on smartphones and tablets.

Take advantage of Small Business Saturday

The Saturday after Black Friday is known as  Small Business Saturday and encourages consumers to buy from local businesses. Startups can potentially have one of their best sales days of the year during this Saturday event.

You can use this day to appeal to customers who prefer to shop locally or support small businesses online. Customers placing orders on Small Business Saturday could receive a discount as a thank you.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not just about offering eye-watering discounts, as customers also respond well to ideas like giveaways and themed events. Even if you are not a retail startup, you can still have some fun and take advantage of the Black Friday theme with your marketing strategy during this period.

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