Saturday, April 20, 2024

U.S. Chamber: 13 ways your business can get ready for Black Friday

by BIZ Magazine
gold and red gift boxes

Black Friday, the consumer holiday synonymous with unbeatable deals, has seen remarkable growth in popularity, with consumers spending an estimated $9.12 billion in 2022. This annual shopping event not only delights shoppers but also presents businesses with an opportunity to attract new customers and significantly increase their revenue.

Here are 13 strategies your business can implement to prepare for Black Friday.

Watch what bigger companies are doing

Your business may not be able to replicate Amazon or Target, but studying their promotional strategies can help you come up with additional ideas. How are these companies marketing their Black Friday deals, and what tactics are customers responding to?

For instance, in addition to highlighting its daily deals, Amazon provides holiday gift guides for its customers. Offering a gift guide can be a great way to draw attention to products that your customers may be unaware of.

Come up with a promotional plan

The best way to ensure your Black Friday is a success is to come up with a promotional plan now. Decide which products and services you want to promote, where you plan to advertise, and the types of deals you plan to offer. Coming up with a high-level marketing plan will help you decide what to focus on if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Offer steep discounts

If you want to attract new customers this year, you need to be willing to offer steep discounts. Of course, the exact discount will depend on your industry and what your competitors are offering. But a survey from CreditDonkey found that 43% of customers are willing to clip a coupon if they receive at least 25% off.

Review your point-of-sale (POS) system

Businesses need to accept as many payment options as possible. That means accepting credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, and contactless payments at the bare minimum.

Using a point-of-sale (POS) system like Square will allow you to accept all of these payment types through one terminal. You also have the option to email or print receipts, and the analytics dashboard will give you insights into your transactions.

[Read more: How to Choose a POS System for Your Small Business]

Check your inventory

Supply chain and delivery problems are at an all-time high this year, so be sure to take stock of your inventory levels before Black Friday arrives. Make sure you have adequate stock of your most popular items so you can capitalize on Black Friday.

If you sell items online and through a retail store, you might offer your customers an additional incentive to shop in-store. Encouraging in-store shopping will help you move more products and reduce your delivery services.

Start hiring additional staff now

If you need additional staff to help out on Black Friday, you should start hiring for those needs now. Figure out how many additional team members you’ll need and what it’ll take to train those people and get them ready.

Hiring has been a struggle for many companies, and you may feel like running a small business puts you at a disadvantage. You might consider offering a bonus to temporary employees who stay on through the entire holiday season.

Keep it simple

Finally, while it always helps to learn from more prominent retailers, you shouldn’t try to copy their efforts. Come up with one or two sales you want to focus on, and put your energy into executing them well.

Keeping your plans simple will ensure you can provide a positive experience for your customers and avoid unnecessary mistakes. It will also make it easier for you to continue these efforts throughout Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

[Read more: Maximize Your E-Commerce Potential This Cyber Monday]

Create email marketing campaigns

Utilizing email marketing campaigns is a great way to inform your customer base about your upcoming Black Friday deals. This approach enables businesses to show their appreciation to existing clientele while fostering loyalty through personalized, informative, and valuable emails to those on your mailing list. Using loyalty discounts and exclusive offers in these emails can entice customers, increasing customer satisfaction and sales.

Since consumers are bombarded with email advertisements during the holiday season, it’s important to remain top-of-mind. To maximize readership potential, avoid sending a single email full of information. Instead, distribute information about your sale across multiple emails, stagger their send times, and establish a sense of urgency to encourage engagement.

Devise a plan for shipping

During Black Friday, shipping companies charge higher rates due to increased volume, but many consumers expect a business to provide free shipping — and those that don’t may find consumers are willing to shop with competitors to take advantage of lower shipping costs. Therefore, strategically offering free shipping for customers who purchase above a certain threshold can be an effective strategy to garner additional revenue while fulfilling customers’ needs.

Offer a deal to customers who are willing to pick up their orders in-store if free shipping is not possible — doing so could lead to additional sales as consumers browse the store during pickup.

Make search engine optimization (SEO) a priority

To successfully boost your rankings and gain traction online, as well as target organic customers, businesses should prioritize SEO. However, the sooner you start the better, as it may take time before you see any SEO-related results.

Observe your landing and product pages to find areas of improvement. Tactics for improving SEO include revamping copy or adding search terms that align with your target audience, increasing your website’s security, and improving its speed to ensure it will be able to handle increased holiday traffic.

Then, take time to confirm that your website accurately lists relevant company information, including store hours, policies, contact information, and location.

Review your checkout process

Many consumers are quick to abandon their carts when they run into issues during the checkout process, leading to a potential loss in revenue. Prepare your business for Black Friday by using your POS software’s embedded payment provider, rather than a payment system connected via application programming interfaces. This will streamline transactions for customers and ensure a quick and easy checkout experience, strengthening consumer trust while allowing you to gather valuable consumer data and insights to guide decision-making.

Even more, using the software’s native payment provider will ensure that the website doesn’t redirect consumers to a third-party vendor to checkout, which can make checking out less efficient and lead to higher rates of cart abandonment.

Strengthen your customer support

The Black Friday shopping season is a great time for businesses to attract new customers, but with more patrons come additional questions and concerns that require additional resources to address. To prepare, businesses should ensure they have enough staff in place to handle additional requests promptly — otherwise, customers will be more likely to shop with competitors who can help.

Offer assistance to customers through various channels including in-store and telephone support, as well as online support via live chat, email, and social media. Be sure to update your website’s FAQs, which can help to answer some consumers’ questions without additional resources.

[Read more: How to Sign Up for the Small Business Saturday ‘Shop Small’ Map]

Consider using social media

Businesses can benefit from leveraging social media because it heavily influences consumers’ purchasing decisions — though without proper know-how, they might end up investing more resources in social media than they realize.

To make the most of social media, experiment with ads. Target local audiences by running ads for those residing in specific locations — such as key zip codes, cities, or states. Dynamic ads are another effective option, as they remarket to audiences who have already shown interest in specific products.

You can also make additional sales on social media using services such as Instagram Shopping and TikTok Shop, boosting your bottom line while acquiring new audiences.

This article was originally written by Jamie Johnson and published on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website, learn more here.

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