Small Businesses Can Take on Box Stores During Black Friday Weekend

It was not that long ago that Black Friday shopping meant setting your alarm clock to go off long before the sun rose so that you could be one of the first consumers in line to take advantage of the incredible bargains. With the increase in e-commerce, Black Friday shopping is no longer a one-day event. The additions of Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday has turned Black Friday into a long weekend of sales with an increasing trend of retailers extending Black Friday deals to start earlier and end later to stand out from competition. Last year, brick and mortar stores saw a slight decrease in foot traffic, according to Adobe Digital Insights, and online sales reported a $19.62 billion consumer spend, which is a 15 percent increase from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday in 2016. With the increase in e-commerce, what do small businesses need to do to get an edge on the big box stores? Below are some tips.

Know Your Audience
Usually the first step of the purchasing journey is consumers researching items online prior to going to any brick and mortar store to make their purchase. If you know who your customers are you can run a more efficient campaign versus spending ad dollars on the wrong audience. So, ask yourself, who currently shops with you? Who follows and engages with you on social? What consumers would you like to gain? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you create targeted personalized campaigns to your intended audience to help drive revenue.

User Friendly Experience
The use of mobile devices to visit sites and make purchases have increased over the past years. Even though desktop purchases are higher than mobile, mobile is the starting point for shoppers to learn about products and browse retailers’ websites. According to Adobe Digital Insights, small retailers saw a higher conversion rate on mobile versus big retailers at 1.9 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, last year. Small retailers also saw an average order value of $71. If you do not have an app, having a mobile friendly website is very important. This will help create an easier user experience for looking up merchandise, selecting items, and checking out. Add PayPal or Apple Pay to your app or website to help streamline the buying process and making purchasing items easier and quicker.

Think Outside the Box
Get creative with your deals and how you promote. You do not have to wait until early-mid November to start your Black Friday campaign. Think about a teaser campaign that draws attention and engagement early while slowly letting out snippets of details about what your Black Friday sale will be. Small businesses know their local area, so focus on personalized campaigns that resonates with the residents. Look at targeting local events and locations through geo-fencing capabilities or use social media to expand your campaign to those outside of your network. If you are promoting through social, make sure to use hashtags with your post. And don’t leave out the emotions. Unruly, a video ad tech provider, reported that 70% of viewers who experienced an intense emotional response to an ad were very likely to buy the product. Tug at the heart strings of your projected audience while making sure your intended emotion matches the online content it is being viewed in.

Black Friday deals do not have to mean huge price slashes with a narrow profit margin. Small businesses can focus on creating an in-store experience or event for consumers that come in. Offer refreshments, a raffle for customers that purchase merchandise, or reward the first handful of patrons with a gift card or a small item. Look at bundling items instead of discounting merchandise. If a toy needs batteries to operate, include the batteries in the purchase. If you are a restaurant or food delivery service, offer free delivery. If you are an event center or museum, consider packaging tickets together instead of selling them individually. Or include an added experience with the purchase of a ticket. Car dealerships can include a free tire rotation and oil change for the auto purchaser. And don’t forget to have gift cards sitting next to the register or as an option to add at checkout.

Black Friday is no longer just for big box stores. For small businesses to be able to compete with these large retailers, they need to differentiate themselves. Focus on learning who your audience is, play to the emotions of being a local business and a community member, and think outside of the box on promoting your sales or bundling products together. And remember to have fun and enjoy your time with local residents to create a memorable experience that brings them back as repeat customers.