Business development · 4 December 2015

Small retailers hope to repeat Black Friday success on Small Business Saturday

Small retailers’ average online sales over the weekend were eight per cent higher on 27 November than in previous years
Small retailers’ average online sales over the weekend were eight per cent higher on 27 November than in previous years

Some independent shops almost doubled online Black Friday sales this year compared to 2014 – according to new research by Intelligent Retail.

Small retailers’ average online sales over the weekend were eight per cent higher on 27 November than in previous years – and one firm surveyed reported a 97 per cent increase in volumes.

Online conversion rates were also higher this year – with an average increase of some 45 per cent.

Intelligent Retail’s managing director David Mackley said: “These figures show how small businesses are looking to maximise online sales. The difference we saw this year is that so many more independent retailers engaged in proactive marketing to their customers over the Black Friday weekend – and those that did tended to reap the rewards.”

Parcel management software company NetDespatch also saw evidence of an increase in Black Friday sales. The volume of parcels shipped through the platform was 34 per cent higher over the promotional weekend than it had been the year before.

NetDespatch commercial director Matthew Robertson said: “Year-on-year, parcel volumes over Black Friday and Cyber Monday continue to rise and this trend shows no signs of abating.”

Small retailers are anticipating that a successful weekend in physical shops will follow Black Friday’s online successes – with Small Business Saturday on 5 December rapidly approaching, and more independent shops involved than ever before.

The event’s sponsor, American Express, is allowing participating small businesses to create an online advert which the credit card company which will promote to local customers. The organisers have also supplied more posters and wall stickers in the weeks leading up to 5 December than in previous years.

Campaign director Michelle Ovens told Business Advice in November that she expected this year’s event to be on a larger scale than in previous years: ““It has been a big step up, the local enthusiasm has been bigger and it’s just about making sure we can just keep building on it.”

Over three quarters of local councils are supporting this year’s event – compared to around half in 2014 – and 26 per cent of respondents in a recent Post Office survey said they were more likely to shop at local small businesses than five years ago.

“Small Business Saturday is an opportunity to come together and generate a real boost for small firms in the run-up to Christmas,” said Business Secretary Sajid Javid. “I urge everyone to go out and support small businesses this weekend,’ he added.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.

HR