Last year, shoppers in the UK spent a staggering £810m during Black Friday and this year we’re set to break all previous records. For the first time ever, consumer spending across the nation is forecast to top £1bn in one day, representing an enormous opportunity for UK retailers.
Originating in the US during the 1990s, Black Friday is name given to the Friday that follows Thanksgiving in the USA. It has taken the retail sector by storm, and been the busiest shopping day of the year for nearly a decade. And now UK retailers have also begun to include Black Friday on their calendars, offering some of their best sales bargains for consumers to snatch up, but are they ready to accommodate such a steep increase in demand over a single day?
Last year – 2014 – Black Friday really made the news in the UK as acts over here echoed the crazed stampedes over in America, and it looks as if we’re in for even more this year. So how can the SME retailer be prepared?
- Promote: Black Friday should now be in your annual marketing calendars. A combination of local advertising as well as social media promotions should see a steady footfall into your shop. If you advertise it, they will come. Spread the word about what you have to offer and advertise the more desirable items that you’ll have for sale. However, be sure to:
- Keep it simple: It’ll be some time before you’re competing with the likes of Tesco’s or John Lewis, so don’t try and match their advertising styles. Pick a modest style that will appeal to your local community and stick with it for the day.
- Discounts: The name of the game on Black Friday is discounts, but a savvy business owner can always turn this to their advantage. Black Friday may be the busiest shopping day of the year, but there’s no rule that says your sales can’t extend beyond that day. Set some discounts that will be consistent throughout the week. Spread the wealth by extending the deals for more days or having specific online deals. The goal is to make sales, not have the longest lines. It is clear that people are looking for the best deals. One of the simplest ways to compile a deal is to look at your local competitors and see what they are offering, then try to beat their offer without compromising your profits.
- Staffing: With many shops on Black Friday, it’s all hands on deck. You may need everyone at your disposal, and that could include pulling those from the back to work the shop floor. Many businesses in the USA hire holiday help for Black Friday. That’s great for working in the warehouse or wrapping gifts, but for employees on the sales floor you need to use your most experienced workers to provide high quality customer service.
- Spread out the sales: Somewhat ironically, having too many people in your shop can do more harm than good. Spread your desirable sale items around the shop to prevent overcrowding in one spot. Make sure that your isles are unobstructed and that there’s plenty of room for your customers to get to the items that they want.
Black Friday can be a scary time, but with these tips a retailer can successfully take part in gaining over a £1bn nationwide. And for any extra help, Boost Capital can finance retail businesses to ensure that they have the funding they need to grow their business and expand their bottom line.