Black Friday has different connotations for everyone. For some, it’s waking in the dark of pre-dawn to elbow out fellow shoppers in pursuit of a $50 flatscreen TV or a Tickle Me Elmo doll, circa 1996. For others, it’s shopping online in a bathrobe while eating leftover turkey and cranberry sandwiches. Or maybe it’s avoiding the fuss entirely!
Regardless of how you feel personally, your small business needs a plan for the big day. You must filter through the many approaches and pick one that aligns your brand values and the reality of your business’ financial position.
Wondering about Black Friday for your business? Here are some approaches to consider:
1. Get in on the action with a special sales event
Craft a special deal that is significant enough to justify a customer’s trip into the store. If you decide to go this route, there are a few things to think about from the start.
- You need to make sure to build up your social media followers and email subscribers prior to the holiday. The more names you have, the more people who will hear about your special deal. Start now! You only have a few weeks.
- Make the deal time sensitive. Online sales are a different story, but for your in-store deal, make it valid for a short period to drive traffic in the door.
- Studies show that incorporating exclusivity, personalization, and encouragement in your messaging fares better than a more demanding “Buy Now!” slogan. Make customers feel like you crafted the deal just for them.
2. Buck the trend altogether
Remember that brilliant, counter-cultural ploy by REI to embrace company values and close on Black Friday? Five years later, the campaign is still strong. Black Friday is canceled, says REI. There will be no ads or promotions, and they’ll be closed Thanksgiving and Black Friday so employees and customers can see family and #optoutside.
If this appeals to you, do it! Get the message out in a big way. The worst outcome would be upsetting customers that go to your store and find it closed, right? Put out emails, postcards, and in-store signage advertising your closure.
Make a catchy tagline and really get behind it. Play up the family message, the anti-shopping message, the turkey sleepiness message, or whatever message you think will resonate with customers!