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How to Bring Corporate Black Friday Strategies to Small Business

Black Friday is the biggest spending day of the year. It is often referred to as the “Superbowl of Retail” because the stakes are so high, even for the biggest companies. Whether your small business participates in Bag Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or all the above, there are a few great lessons you can take from Corporate America when it comes to planning your holiday sales.

1) Review Your Results: As soon as one Black Friday ends, the planning for the next one begins. Extensive analytics and recapping help frame up what worked and what didn’t. It is also a chance to dissect competitor strategy. This kind of information is the starting point for crafting next year’s tactics.

The small business approach: Review your sales in whatever way makes sense for your business. Data is a great starting point, but if that isn’t a reality for you, have a debrief with your sales team to discuss product trends, customer feedback and customer traffic throughout the day. It can also be helpful to jot observations about what surrounding businesses did to drive sales. These details will be a huge advantage as you start to plan next year’s peak selling periods.


2) Offer Doorbusters: Doorbuster deals are a hallmark of Black Friday. These wow-factor deals drive considerable sales volume, but perhaps more importantly, they draw customer interest, which in turn creates additional selling opportunities. So, while these deals can seem too-good-to-be-true, they are a tactical piece of most Black Friday strategies.  

The small business approach: Consider if there are a few items that you can highlight and celebrate for their incredible value to your customers. To be a doorbuster, the out-the-door price should be lower than any other time of the year, and it should be messaged in a way to attract customers to your space. Doorbusters are a great way to offer a phenomenal deal to your customers while also enticing them to shop your other seasonal offers.


3) Pad Inventory: Inventory is a major factor in Black Friday planning, and there are two competing components to it. The first component is ensuring ample inventory to optimize sales. An empty shelf equates to a lost sale. Second is to build urgency and mitigate liability. Since doorbuster sales velocity is unparalleled, and margins are generally unsustainable, it is important to meet Black Friday demand, but not be left with burdensome inventory. The idea is to get inventory just right.

The small business approach: Creating a basic forecast is a fantastic way to stay ahead of inventory throughout the year and comes in handy when planning for peak demand. Knowing how your product responds to discounts (also known as price elasticity), as well as knowing your seasonality trends, allows you to effectively predict demand. If a forecast isn’t available to you, you can extrapolate demand from other peak selling days throughout the year.


4) Focus Your Marketing: Major corporations benefit from enormous marketing budgets. Marketing starts as early as October and reaches a crescendo as Black Friday approaches. Unsurprisingly, marketing relies heavily on holiday-centric messaging. Particularly when it comes to Black Friday, the idea is to convince the customer to buy with us and to buy now.

The small business approach: Take a cue from the big marketers and try to answer why this, why now? It must be clear to your customers how your products bring value to their lives and why this sale stands apart from other buying opportunities throughout the year. Just like Corporate America, consider starting early—let your customers know what they have to look forward to, and how to get access to your specially curated offers.

With Black Friday and Small Business Saturday just around the corner, it’s likely that your small business is a flurry of preparation. Taking a moment to reflect on these strategies may offer some last-minute tweaks to amplify this year’s results and will set you up to deliver stellar results next year. While The Holidays can leave even the most seasoned retail professionals in a daze, these tips offer a leg up against corporate competition, and will help you navigate the holiday season with confidence.

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