Black Friday for small businesses

Black Friday – a day on which retailers offer huge discounts to their customers – has been around for decades. It originated in America in the 1920s, and by the 1980s it had become one of the most important shopping days of the year. In 2010 the phenomenon crossed the pond, and in the last few years it has well and truly made its mark in the UK. In 2017, we spent £1.4 billion* in online Black Friday sales alone.

This year, Black Friday will happen on Friday 23rd November, and it is expected to be as significant as ever. But is this an event for big retailers only, or can everybody get involved? Read on to find out whether running a Black Friday promotion is right for your small business.

Should I take part?

There are plenty of good reasons to take part in this seasonal shopping bonanza. On Black Friday, shoppers will be ready to spend and actively looking for deals, so you might find it easier than ever to draw in new customers. It’s also a great excuse to clear out surplus stock, and it means you can boost your sales before the busy Christmas period.

Of course, there are drawbacks too. Extra customers mean extra pressure, so you must have the systems (i.e. staff, website infrastructure) to deal with it. Profit margins are also a major consideration: the biggest retailers can afford to slash their prices in a way that most small businesses cannot, so before you offer any discounts, make sure you can afford what you’re offering. Don’t end up out of pocket just for the sake of being involved.

However, if you have everything in place and an exciting promotion in mind, taking part in Black Friday could be a great opportunity for your business!

How do I do it?

Discounts are the bread and butter of Black Friday, so you need to decide what to sell and how much to sell it for. You could choose your most popular product or service, focus on discounting stock you want to get rid of before Christmas, or offer a blanket discount across your entire range (again, provided you can afford it). The deal you offer should be appealing, as there will be lots of tempting sales out there, but don’t try to match your prices to the retail giants. Just offer a really good deal that your customers will find impossible to resist!

You will also need to promote your sale: put it in a prominent place on your website (41% of people shop the Black Friday sales online†), start shouting about it on social media now, and send out a promotional email to your mailing list. Be sure to include all the details of your sale, including the dates and times it will be happening. Many Black Friday sales now last longer than one day, so you could run different ‘deal of the day’ promotions throughout Black Friday week. Get creative, and then tell everyone about it!

Alternatives to Black Friday

If you’d rather not jump on the Black Friday train, you won’t be alone. Plenty of companies choose to shirk the discounts and run awareness campaigns instead – shutting down on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, taking a stand against impulse buying, or donating Black Friday profits to worthy causes. For a business concerned with sustainability and the environment, for example, running an ‘alternative’ Black Friday campaign could be the perfect way to raise awareness about an important issue, and position your business as something a little bit different.

Whatever you choose to do for Black Friday, you will need to tell your audience about it. Get Ahead VA can help you craft an effective email marketing campaign, so nobody misses out on what you’re offering. Please give Get Ahead VA a call on 01483 332220 or email us at We pride ourselves on being the staff you don’t see, but the difference you do.


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