After sliding away from the Thanksgiving dinner table, millions of Americans will put on their shopping shoes and plunge into Black Friday.
For small businesses, including those owned by black entrepreneurs, the retail bonanza after turkey day is a potential time to shine and boost sales dramatically.
Black Friday is the ultimate one-day sale that traditionally kicks off the holiday shopping season. But that is only the beginning of the stampede shopping extravaganza. An estimated 165.3 million people are likely to shop Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, making it one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year, a new survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics shows.
“The tradition of Thanksgiving weekend holiday shopping has become a five-day event with consumers spending money in stores, supporting local small businesses, and online with their mobile devices and computers,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay stated in a news release. “Even as people are starting to purchase gifts earlier in the season, consumers still enjoy finding good Thanksgiving deals and passing time shopping with family and friends over the long holiday weekend.”
Of those planning to shop, 47% plan to start in-store versus 41% who will start online. Fifty-two percent of Americans under 25 are even more likely to start shopping in-store.
Deals being too good to pass up, tradition, and it’s when people likely start their holiday shopping were the top reasons consumers are planning to shop. Some 7,917 adult consumers were recently surveyed on their Thanksgiving weekend plans.
“We expect the biggest increase in potential shoppers for Thanksgiving Day this year,” Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist stated. “We anticipate that people may head to stores if they are open or shop from their phones while watching football.”
NRF’s annual forecast projects that holiday retail sales in November and December will be up between 3.8% and 4.2% over 2018, totaling between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion. In addition to leveraging social media to promote your business, here are six ideas for small businesses to consider to help them get ready for Black Friday and the holiday shopping season.
1. Be Clever
Some observers feel Black Friday and Cyber Monday are lacking with huge discounts, special deals, or big promotions. But as a small business, if you decide to offer sales, consider doing it in a way that it doesn’t hurt your bottom line. For instance, you might add a gift giveaway when shoppers buy over a certain amount.
Another possible option: Provide free shipping with a minimum purchase amount. You can then offer deals that provide value and hopefully not break the bank.
2. Two-for-one sales
Examine your best and worst selling products if you’re considering offering discounts. Perhaps cut those prices or merge them for a two-for-one sale, hoping they will get both. You could sell a product people already like and maybe get them to buy one they may not know about.
3. Promote an Hourly Sale
Consider using your email lists to launch a new sale by the hour. Let your customers know that the rare promotion is coming in advance. Tell them to watch for it digitally on their smartphones, tablets, or lab tops.
4. Spruce Up Your Store
If you have a free-standing location in a mall or shopping center, this can be very beneficial. Big box locations near your business could see a rise in foot track, and those are potential shoppers for you. They may be willing to visit your store to see what you got, even if you’re not offering Black Friday or holiday specials. As a result, you may want to invest in decorations to bring attention to your store to take advantage of the foot traffic in your area.
5. Don’t Try to Compete with big chains
Focus on offering items and services that your business is known for and why people shop there. In other words, provide items that set your store apart from bigger competitors at prices that work for your margins. Attempting to match bigger stores offering huge discounts on Black Friday and other special sales days could hurt your business.
6. Use convenience to your advantage
People are turned off by long lines, hard to find parking spaces, and other headaches that often come with shopping at major retailers. Look for ways to offer customers an easier shopping experience on Black Friday. The actions could help your store stand out and potentially attract some referral business. For instance, possibly promote easy parking, no long wait times to be served, and other features shoppers might not readily get from a larger rival.