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The Best Sales Tactics for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday

October 11, 2022

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You may think it’s early, but the countdown doesn’t lie — there are only 45 more days until Black Friday. (And 46 until Small Business Saturday.)

They’re only two of the biggest shopping holidays of the year for SMBs. Need proof? Allow us to throw some stats at you:

  • Almost 155M Americans shopped on Black Friday 2021. 
  • Black Friday online revenue: $8.9B.
  • Average spend on Black Friday: $430 (up from $410 last year).
  • U.S. consumers spent an estimated $23.3B on Small Business Saturday 2021 (up 18% from 2020).
  • A majority (66%) of consumers reported that shopping on Small Business Saturday makes them want to Shop Small all year long.

And lest we forget Cyber Monday last year, when online revenue came in at $10.7B (48 days away — ahem).

A frog puppet holding his hand up to his mouth in nervousness.

Basically, those few days post-Thanksgiving are prime opportunities for some serious sales. But when you’re a small business competing for customers against some of the biggest retail giants in the world, coming up with a holiday sales strategy can feel a bit daunting. That’s why we’ve compiled tips to help SMBs start off the holiday shopping season strong.

1. “By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.”

Remember the countdown? It might seem like a lot of time, but Black Friday is going to be here sooner than you think. Meaning, you’ve got 45 days to prep everything you need for a very busy weekend, and there’s no time to waste.

Stock up.

Getting more customers to your website or through your doors naturally means you’ll be selling more products. You’ll have to order stock now, especially if your manufacturers and vendors need some time themselves.

If you’ve been in business for a while, you probably already have a good idea of your product demands. If you’re newer to the game and this is your first holiday season, don’t sweat it — jump into your purchase history and take a look at some of your best shopping days. What were your bestselling items? Which products flew off the shelves? Take note of your most popular goods, and stock up accordingly.

When you’ve built up a strong stockpile of your key goods, consider how you’ll present them to your customers. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, try placing your most popular items in easily accessible areas throughout your store. If you work primarily through your website, consider featuring your bestsellers on your homepage.

Build a comprehensive marketing campaign.

It goes without saying, but no one is going to take advantage of your Black Friday deals if they don’t know about it. As a small business, you don’t have the clout of the big retailers — people already know that places like Walmart and Target are going for big discounts, but they probably won’t assume the same about you.

A man walking into a room and saying, "Here I am."

That’s why you’ll need a smart marketing strategy — one that will spread the word about your holiday sales and entice people to shop with you.

Love it or hate it, social media is your friend here. Reach out to your followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok with info on the discounts and deals you’re offering. See if your city has any small business-specific hashtags — include those in your posts and make yourself discoverable to a wider audience. Plus, if you have a physical store, post about your Black Friday and Small Business Saturday plans in your local area. Look out for community boards at your nearby coffee shop or neighborhood library.

And your marketing campaign doesn’t have to break the bank! American Express has an online Shop Small Studio, which will provide you with free materials to create marketing posters, social media graphics, and email newsletters to help you spread the word.

2. Discounts, coupons, and sales, oh my!

The main allure of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are the deals. Consumers save all their shopping for this weekend specifically to take advantage of the discounts they’ll receive — it’s like the Super Bowl for savvy shoppers. And for SMBs, the best deal is a fine balance of enticing enough deals while still remaining lucrative.

In a survey conducted by Infusionsoft and Pollfish, they found that the most popular Small Business Saturday promotions were:

  • Limited-time offers (24%).
  • Free gift offers (21%).
  • Coupon discounts (20%).
  • “Buy one, get one free” offers (19%).

Limited-time offers designate specific discounts to certain periods of time. For example, maybe you want to offer 20% off everything in-store for customers who arrive before 2 p.m. on Black Friday. If you have an online store, you can also entice customers with different offers every hour, which will encourage them to revisit your site frequently.

Free gift offers involve including a complimentary item with a customer’s purchase. You could offer something small, like branded lip balm, a water bottle, or a $5 gift certificate on a future purchase. You can also offer these gifts if customers spend a certain amount (for example, giving out a free tote bag for every $100 spent) or as a special deal for the first 50 customers to come into the store.

Coupon discounts — AKA, when customers bring in a coupon with a specified percentage or amount off your purchase. This type of discount is a great marketing tactic — you can do channel-specific promotions across your social media (i.e. offering different discounts on Facebook versus Instagram) or giving out discounts if customers do things like sign up for your newsletter or refer a friend to your business.

“Buy one, get one free” offers are just like they say — customers get two items for the price of one. It’s a great way to pull in customers while getting rid of your less popular products.

Loyalty programs.

Never underestimate the power of loyalty — or in this case, loyalty programs. Last year, 81% of consumers shopped specific brands during the holiday season because they were a member of their loyalty program. Another 61% joined a loyalty program just to get discounts.

Meaning, you could use a loyalty program to bring customers into your store and potentially keep them coming back throughout the season and beyond. You can start your own loyalty program and attach special Small Business Saturday discounts for anyone who is a member. You can also work with loyalty rewards apps like Fivestars and give customers a chance to collect bonus points or cash back.

A man saying, "I'm going wherever they value loyalty the most."

3. Convenience, convenience, convenience

Like everything else happening in the world, the past two holiday shopping seasons have been heavily impacted by the pandemic, and retailers were forced to make pivots to accommodate for the strange times we were living in. The result: a stronger emphasis on online shopping and a growing reliance on curbside pickup.

Even in 2022, there are expectations that online shopping and BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) will still have a strong presence in the holiday shopping season, and it’s because consumers like the convenience.

In fact, U.S. retailers who offered a pick up option on Black Friday grew their revenue by 50% more than retailers who did not. That’s right — Five. Zero.

So, you’ll want to take a long look at your online store and your pre-order services. For your Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday online orders, free shipping is your friend — 49% of consumers reported that free shipping influences their shopping decisions. And while you may not be able to accommodate the convenience of two-day shipping (thanks Amazon) — that’s okay! At least include a guaranteed shipping date and send out tracking information once you have it.

And consider bringing in extra employees just to help you with pick up orders. That way, you won’t have to worry about stealing an employee away from the ordinary chaos of Black Friday and Small Business Saturday foot traffic.

For service businesses…

For too long, Black Friday has been the domain of retailers and product businesses. But for those of us who are in the service industry, how can we also reap the benefits of shopping holidays?

The tactics we listed above still work for service businesses — but with some slight tweaking.

You should still create a comprehensive marketing plan for your business’ Black Friday and Small Business Saturday deals, posting about your upcoming offers and discounts to your various social media and email lists.

Your deals, however, will look different. Try to create value-add offers — basically, offering additional bonuses to your regular services. For example, let’s say you own a home cleaning service. In addition to a standard house cleaning, you might also offer a bonus kitchen appliance cleaning or an enhanced disinfecting service as a special Black Friday treat.

Your bonuses will depend on your business model and the industry you work in, but if you’re stuck on ideas, consider all the different services you already offer rather than trying to come up with something new. Here are some other holiday-specific deals you can consider:

  • A special VIP package.
  • A discount on an annual plan or subscription.
  • A referral program with discounts for every new customer referred.

Just because you’re an SMB doesn’t mean you can’t reap the rewards of the biggest shopping holidays of the year. Customers are keen to shop with SMBs, and if your deals are enticing enough, there’s no reason you can’t bring in some pretty hefty profits.

But don’t wait — 45 days are going to pass in the blink of an eye.

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Article

The Best Sales Tactics for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday

October 11, 2022

Jump to a section
Share it!
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You're all signed up! Look out for the next edition of The Manual Weekly coming Wednesday am!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

You may think it’s early, but the countdown doesn’t lie — there are only 45 more days until Black Friday. (And 46 until Small Business Saturday.)

They’re only two of the biggest shopping holidays of the year for SMBs. Need proof? Allow us to throw some stats at you:

  • Almost 155M Americans shopped on Black Friday 2021. 
  • Black Friday online revenue: $8.9B.
  • Average spend on Black Friday: $430 (up from $410 last year).
  • U.S. consumers spent an estimated $23.3B on Small Business Saturday 2021 (up 18% from 2020).
  • A majority (66%) of consumers reported that shopping on Small Business Saturday makes them want to Shop Small all year long.

And lest we forget Cyber Monday last year, when online revenue came in at $10.7B (48 days away — ahem).

A frog puppet holding his hand up to his mouth in nervousness.

Basically, those few days post-Thanksgiving are prime opportunities for some serious sales. But when you’re a small business competing for customers against some of the biggest retail giants in the world, coming up with a holiday sales strategy can feel a bit daunting. That’s why we’ve compiled tips to help SMBs start off the holiday shopping season strong.

1. “By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.”

Remember the countdown? It might seem like a lot of time, but Black Friday is going to be here sooner than you think. Meaning, you’ve got 45 days to prep everything you need for a very busy weekend, and there’s no time to waste.

Stock up.

Getting more customers to your website or through your doors naturally means you’ll be selling more products. You’ll have to order stock now, especially if your manufacturers and vendors need some time themselves.

If you’ve been in business for a while, you probably already have a good idea of your product demands. If you’re newer to the game and this is your first holiday season, don’t sweat it — jump into your purchase history and take a look at some of your best shopping days. What were your bestselling items? Which products flew off the shelves? Take note of your most popular goods, and stock up accordingly.

When you’ve built up a strong stockpile of your key goods, consider how you’ll present them to your customers. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, try placing your most popular items in easily accessible areas throughout your store. If you work primarily through your website, consider featuring your bestsellers on your homepage.

Build a comprehensive marketing campaign.

It goes without saying, but no one is going to take advantage of your Black Friday deals if they don’t know about it. As a small business, you don’t have the clout of the big retailers — people already know that places like Walmart and Target are going for big discounts, but they probably won’t assume the same about you.

A man walking into a room and saying, "Here I am."

That’s why you’ll need a smart marketing strategy — one that will spread the word about your holiday sales and entice people to shop with you.

Love it or hate it, social media is your friend here. Reach out to your followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok with info on the discounts and deals you’re offering. See if your city has any small business-specific hashtags — include those in your posts and make yourself discoverable to a wider audience. Plus, if you have a physical store, post about your Black Friday and Small Business Saturday plans in your local area. Look out for community boards at your nearby coffee shop or neighborhood library.

And your marketing campaign doesn’t have to break the bank! American Express has an online Shop Small Studio, which will provide you with free materials to create marketing posters, social media graphics, and email newsletters to help you spread the word.

2. Discounts, coupons, and sales, oh my!

The main allure of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are the deals. Consumers save all their shopping for this weekend specifically to take advantage of the discounts they’ll receive — it’s like the Super Bowl for savvy shoppers. And for SMBs, the best deal is a fine balance of enticing enough deals while still remaining lucrative.

In a survey conducted by Infusionsoft and Pollfish, they found that the most popular Small Business Saturday promotions were:

  • Limited-time offers (24%).
  • Free gift offers (21%).
  • Coupon discounts (20%).
  • “Buy one, get one free” offers (19%).

Limited-time offers designate specific discounts to certain periods of time. For example, maybe you want to offer 20% off everything in-store for customers who arrive before 2 p.m. on Black Friday. If you have an online store, you can also entice customers with different offers every hour, which will encourage them to revisit your site frequently.

Free gift offers involve including a complimentary item with a customer’s purchase. You could offer something small, like branded lip balm, a water bottle, or a $5 gift certificate on a future purchase. You can also offer these gifts if customers spend a certain amount (for example, giving out a free tote bag for every $100 spent) or as a special deal for the first 50 customers to come into the store.

Coupon discounts — AKA, when customers bring in a coupon with a specified percentage or amount off your purchase. This type of discount is a great marketing tactic — you can do channel-specific promotions across your social media (i.e. offering different discounts on Facebook versus Instagram) or giving out discounts if customers do things like sign up for your newsletter or refer a friend to your business.

“Buy one, get one free” offers are just like they say — customers get two items for the price of one. It’s a great way to pull in customers while getting rid of your less popular products.

Loyalty programs.

Never underestimate the power of loyalty — or in this case, loyalty programs. Last year, 81% of consumers shopped specific brands during the holiday season because they were a member of their loyalty program. Another 61% joined a loyalty program just to get discounts.

Meaning, you could use a loyalty program to bring customers into your store and potentially keep them coming back throughout the season and beyond. You can start your own loyalty program and attach special Small Business Saturday discounts for anyone who is a member. You can also work with loyalty rewards apps like Fivestars and give customers a chance to collect bonus points or cash back.

A man saying, "I'm going wherever they value loyalty the most."

3. Convenience, convenience, convenience

Like everything else happening in the world, the past two holiday shopping seasons have been heavily impacted by the pandemic, and retailers were forced to make pivots to accommodate for the strange times we were living in. The result: a stronger emphasis on online shopping and a growing reliance on curbside pickup.

Even in 2022, there are expectations that online shopping and BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) will still have a strong presence in the holiday shopping season, and it’s because consumers like the convenience.

In fact, U.S. retailers who offered a pick up option on Black Friday grew their revenue by 50% more than retailers who did not. That’s right — Five. Zero.

So, you’ll want to take a long look at your online store and your pre-order services. For your Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday online orders, free shipping is your friend — 49% of consumers reported that free shipping influences their shopping decisions. And while you may not be able to accommodate the convenience of two-day shipping (thanks Amazon) — that’s okay! At least include a guaranteed shipping date and send out tracking information once you have it.

And consider bringing in extra employees just to help you with pick up orders. That way, you won’t have to worry about stealing an employee away from the ordinary chaos of Black Friday and Small Business Saturday foot traffic.

For service businesses…

For too long, Black Friday has been the domain of retailers and product businesses. But for those of us who are in the service industry, how can we also reap the benefits of shopping holidays?

The tactics we listed above still work for service businesses — but with some slight tweaking.

You should still create a comprehensive marketing plan for your business’ Black Friday and Small Business Saturday deals, posting about your upcoming offers and discounts to your various social media and email lists.

Your deals, however, will look different. Try to create value-add offers — basically, offering additional bonuses to your regular services. For example, let’s say you own a home cleaning service. In addition to a standard house cleaning, you might also offer a bonus kitchen appliance cleaning or an enhanced disinfecting service as a special Black Friday treat.

Your bonuses will depend on your business model and the industry you work in, but if you’re stuck on ideas, consider all the different services you already offer rather than trying to come up with something new. Here are some other holiday-specific deals you can consider:

  • A special VIP package.
  • A discount on an annual plan or subscription.
  • A referral program with discounts for every new customer referred.

Just because you’re an SMB doesn’t mean you can’t reap the rewards of the biggest shopping holidays of the year. Customers are keen to shop with SMBs, and if your deals are enticing enough, there’s no reason you can’t bring in some pretty hefty profits.

But don’t wait — 45 days are going to pass in the blink of an eye.

Article

The Best Sales Tactics for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday

October 11, 2022

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