A Guide to Preparing Your Small Business for Black Friday

By Uma Campbell

The holidays and, more specifically, Thanksgiving are just around the corner. Right after Thanksgiving comes Black Friday and the official start of the holiday shopping season. Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, and customers lined up for hours before a store opened in years past to get the best deals available as soon as the store opened. While some people still line up for in-person deals, the days of rushing mobs of people are mainly behind us. Instead of spending hours camping out, many people opt for refreshing websites instead. Black Friday is no longer just an in-person event, and the digital realm now consumes a significant portion of the Black Friday sales. Any business wanting to compete on Black Friday must be prepared. Whether you are a small independent brick and mortar store or an Etsy seller trying to cash in on the Black Friday craze, you must prepare ahead of Black Friday to ensure you make the most out of the shopping holiday. Here are some ways smaller businesses can prep for Black Friday and maximize the start of the holiday shopping season. 

Plan Your Sales

No business should haphazardly or casually throw together sales. Even if you have a budget that can afford a flopped deal, it is a bad business practice. If you are going to cut your prices, at least take the time to measure what you are doing to ensure you make the best possible choices. Carefully consider what items you can afford to discount and which ones you want to exclude from the sale. Try to find a balance between what your customers would like and what your bottom line can handle. This process can take a while, so do not leave this decision until the last minute. Analyzing sales data and estimating customer interest is an inexact science, but it is a critical part of your Black Friday preparations. Look at what items you sell the most of, how much stock you will have of those items, and what price you could sell them at to still make a profit to start determining your Black Friday sales. 

Prepare Your Store

Once you have your sales set and have decided which items to discount, it is time to prepare your storefront. It does not matter if you are a physical store or an online store; you should redo your layout to highlight your Back Friday offerings. Customers do not want to wade through your store to find the best deals; it is a much better idea to put your deals upfront, so they attract customers right from the start. Do not hide your best offerings among regular sales as customers are there for the Black Friday specials, not everyday discounts. Optimize your store layout to attract customers and then help them navigate your inventory as efficiently as possible. 

Get The Word Out

As a small business, you might have a smaller marketing budget than global companies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get the word out. Use direct response marketing targeting your local area to bring in customers near you, but larger scale or more expensive direct marketing pushes will likely be ineffective for a small local brick and mortar store. Social media posts, newsletter blasts, and general paid ad slots will also help you pull in more traffic. Narrow down who you want to target so you can focus on that goal instead of trying to market to everyone. Do you want to target locals in your area for your brick and mortar store, or are you looking for online customers who shop within your niche? Consider your store, brand, and your planned discounts to help you find your ideal marketing audience. 

Black Friday is not just another shopping day, as it is consistently one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Any size business would be smart to prepare for the day, as Black Friday is only the start of the busy holiday season. Take the time to map out your deals, sales, discounts, and offerings well in advance so you can use reliable data analysis to back up your choices. Prepare your store for the sale day with your best deals upfront to lure customers in and an efficient layout to keep customers moving. Get the word out about your unique offerings, but do not target the entire world. Look at your existing customer base, local community, and your industry niche to determine which customers you should market towards. 

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