An SME guide to Black Friday

By Stuart Hulme, Director of Savings and Marketing

This Friday, 23 November marks Black Friday, which will kick off the shopping season that comprises 30% of all sales for 2018 (Big Commerce). As one of the biggest shopping days in the UK, many will be hoping to make the most of the deals on offer. In fact, Brits plan to spend an estimated £7 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases this year, according to research by Finder.

How did Black Friday begin?

The term ‘Black Friday’ originated in Philadelphia in the 1950s, when police coined the term to describe the chaos the day after Thanksgiving, when hordes of shoppers flooded into the city in advance of the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday every year.

Has Black Friday changed shopping behaviours?

In 2017, sales in Great Britain grew faster in November than in December for the first time and average weekly internet sales nearly tripled between November 2010 and 2017, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

Black Friday presents a unique opportunity for SMEs to attract customers and boost sales, so we’ve put together a brief guide for SMEs looking to position their Black Friday offering:

Problem: Competition
SMEs are under pressure to offer deals that rival those of larger retailers. Yet, they lack the clout, stock levels and budgets of the bigger players.

Solution: Ramp up marketing efforts to attract new customers. Black Friday is an opportunity to clear out surplus or out of season stock to give an immediate cash flow boost.

Problem: Spike in profits
A successful Black Friday can wipe out profits for the rest of the Christmas period.

Solution: Black Friday is an opportunity for businesses to gather lots of useful data which can be used to determine the return on investment. This data can be leveraged to target new customers with remarketing, social media and email campaigns. Tracking sales and revenue data over time will help you assess whether Black Friday is a success for your business.

Problem: Technology
Increasingly shoppers are opting to avoid the crowds and shop online, but a surge in website traffic can put a significant strain on servers and payment systems, whereas larger retailers may have more budget for extra tech support, server capacity and IT resources.

Solution: Encourage customers to create wish lists, then email them if you discount any of the items on their list. Schedule offers throughout the day to manage traffic volumes and encourage shoppers to move through the buying funnel faster. Improve the load time of your site by compressing images, simplifying forms, and running extensive load tests beforehand. Also ensure your mobile/app shopping is running smoothly.

Problem: Consumers
Customers are often excited and impatient on Black Friday and this can put pressure on SMEs and their employees.

Solution: Make the shopping experience as straightforward and pleasant as possible. Offer samples in store and extra discounts to loyal customers. Offering a personal touch can help SMEs overshadow larger players.

At HTB, we offer consistently competitive rates, so there is no need to wait until Black Friday to get a good deal and great value from your savings. Click here to find out more about our personal savings accounts.

HTB would like to reassure customers that we are operating normal business hours, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday with no interruptions to our service. Click here for more information about our response to COVID-19. Please get in touch here, or via your usual method should you have any concerns.