Small Business? Cash in on Black Friday & Cyber Monday
With every passing year, more and more Canadian businesses and customers are participating in Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Though originally an American retail event, a recent Retail Council of Canada survey  found that the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend has now eclipsed Boxing Day as the time more Canadians search for bargains and find the best deals.
Once again this year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be dominated by the biggest retail and online stores. As a small business owner, how can you cash in on this weekend when your customers are geared up to buy, buy, buy?
Ready, set… discount!
Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers will be looking for bargains, so you need to decide what and how you’ll discount. If you’re going to benefit from this spending spree, be sure you’re ready to go all in. Since a recent study noted 55% of Canadians say they’ll spend less on holiday gifts and celebrations this year, while 58% plan to prepare a holiday budget , you want to promote offers that provide clear savings. Offer a blanket discount on every product or pick a few products and really slash their prices. Create even more excitement and increase traffic by placing different items on sale at different times.
Promote your sales
Ensure your customers are aware of the deals you’re offering during this special week or weekend. Otherwise, your business could get lost in all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday noise. Create e-newsletters, social media posts and in-store signage, as well as cross promotions with other neighbouring small businesses, to get the word out. Create countdown clocks to add urgency to your promos for the big days. Consider an advance, invitation-only sale for your best customers.
Prepare for customers
Ensure that your sales will be a success by having adequate stock. You can also have “while supplies last” items on a few sought-after discounts, too. Do make the shopping experience a satisfying one with extra staff to handle increased traffic. For online sales, be certain to have enough personnel to process and pack orders so customers receive them as quickly as possible.
Don’t just compete with the big guys
If you sell the same items that giant retailers are promoting, don’t just rely on competing with them. Offer things that they aren’t… like warranty upgrades, free or expedited shipping or delivery or even bundles to entice shoppers. One aspect that most big box and online giants will lose out on, and which is gaining momentum all across Canada, is the local angle. More and more customers want to support locally-sourced items and locally-owned and run businesses. Focus on your deals, but adding a secondary local message with donations or sponsorships could mean extra holiday sales for your small business.
Make it an event, not just a sale
Create a fun environment with sparkling cider or eggnog, holiday cookies and other goodies in store. Online, use promotional activities, like a draw for a gift card or item, and tie the prize into your customers promoting your business and products through online reviews. You can even offer additional small discounts to anyone who hashtags your business or promotes your sale. As a small business owner, it’s important to stay in the game and take a positive spin on what is happening in the marketplace, that’s why participating in Black Friday and Cyber Monday events makes good (small) business sense!
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 RCC Holiday Shopping Survey 2018