Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday: Tips for Retail’s Biggest Week
21 Nov 2017

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday: Tips for Retail’s Biggest Week

21 Nov 2017

So you’re looking for a Black Friday Idea…

People climbing over each other for a juicer, old ladies pushing children to the floor to get at a Swiffer mop, at least one fatality, and at the centre of it, all consumer goods priced low, low, low!  Black Friday is here again folks!

The biggest retail day of the year started as a distinctly US phenomenon but has now spread to the whole English-speaking world. Just like Christmas, it keeps getting earlier each year, with weeks of deals and flash-sales leading up to the big day itself, which has been joined by the eCommerce-centric Cyber Monday and self-explanatory Small Business Saturday.

So how do you come up with a Black Friday Idea that can benefit your retail business, hopefully to the point that people are camping outside your doors at5 am?

Realize That People Kind of Don’t Like Black Friday

Everybody complains about Christmas getting earlier every year… then put their lights on in mid-August anyway. Because of the riots and tramplings, Black Friday has not gotten a great reputation- but those deals though. You can connect with your customers by giving them a little wink via social media or in-store signage that says ‘hey, we know that this is crazy, we get it, but did you see this stand mixer?’ One company even completely boycotted Black Friday but paid their employees all the same.


Send emails and social posts out several weeks before the big day, even if you don’t know exactly what your plans are, then ratchet up from there as your plans become more concrete. You’ll be competing for a lot of attention on Black Friday itself, so make sure that you have a plan to grab as much attention as you can.

Start Early

Send emails and social posts out several weeks before the big day, even if you don’t know exactly what your plans are, then ratchet up from there as your plans become more concrete. You’ll be competing for a lot of attention on Black Friday itself, so make sure that you have a plan to grab as much attention as you can.

Be Funny

Sex is supposed to sell, but more often than not it makes people feel gross. Shock is supposed to wake people from their complacency, but really it makes 90% of people turn off. Sentiment should speak to universal human truths, but mostly it just sounds schmaltzy. That leaves humour: provided that you’re not punching down, being vulgar or just plain weird then humour is the best way to reach audiences on a gut level. Using consumer’s own uneasy relationship with Black Friday, a deep knowledge of your audience and whatever inspiration you can find you can craft something that people are going to remember.

Pay For It

If you’re already making deep cuts into your profit margins by offering staggering deals then paying more for advertising might have your accountant breaking out in a cold sweat, but in today’s competitive attention economy it might be the only way to get in front of enough eyeballs to get that coveted line-out-of-the-door. Facebook advertising allows you to create highly-targeted multimedia ads, and many other platforms offer similar functionality (although Facebook remains the largest.) Don’t discount traditional media either: plenty of people will still respond to a well-made newspaper insert.

How should you set up a great social media campaign for Black Friday? Here’s a sample idea:

  • Post a great video to your company’s Facebook page.
  • Pay to promote that video to your followers (no more than $100 of spend should be necessary here depending on the size of your market.)
  • Build a retargeting ad campaign- a type of Facebook ad campaign that shows ads to people who have already done something on your page or website. Here, you should create a campaign that targets anyone who watched more than half of your video.
  • Go hard and spend big to target those people with ads about your Black Friday deals- they’ve shown that they are engaged.

Tighten Up Your eCommerce

Cyber Monday is a huge day for eCommerce, and it’s not just the big players (or, rather, player- Amazon). Any company that sells online can jump on the bandwagon, but to do so you’ll need a rock-solid eCommerce solution. You may be able to attract more people, but the same rules still apply: make sure that there are no errors, make sure that it’s easy to add items and pay for your order, make sure that the shipping options are transparent- free shipping is a major incentive at any time of year. It’s probably the wrong time to switch from Shopify to Magento or vice-versa, but might be the right time to add some plug-ins that tighten up the checkout process- provided that you’ve got plenty of time to test it and work out any bugs.

Also, because you’ll have an influx of new customers, it’s important to convert them into fans instead of just taking their money once a year and hoping they come back the next. Follow-up emails, incentives to sign up for social media and add-ins for the packages that build goodwill- all of this will convert a few Black Friday bargain-hunters into regular customers.

6) Go Mobile

A large portion of shoppers will be browsing on their mobiles instead of a desktop, which offers a host of opportunities- and problems. Obviously, on a seven-inch screen, you’re not going to be able to show as much or incorporate the same level of text description- a couple of sentences should be sufficient. Mobile also allows you to employ push notifications: it may seem a little intrusive, but eCommerce vendors have found that a pop-up message about an abandoned shopping cart or a notification of a flash sale is a valuable addition to your company’s eCommerce operations.

Stay Small

On Black Friday you’ll be up against big box stores that can afford deep, deep discounts and pyramids of HD TVs; on Cyber Monday you’ll be up against Amazon, who has been taking on the high street and winning for the past twenty years. To level the playing field, consider skipping Black Friday/Cyber Monday altogether and going straight to Small Business Saturday. It might not have the small multi-billion dollar clout as its cousins earlier in the week, but it does allow you to leverage the goodwill people have towards small businesses and their antipathy towards the big retailers.

With a little imagination and the willingness to go the extra mile to provide compelling discounts for your customers, the Black Friday – Cyber Monday shopping period can be the most lucrative shopping period of the entire year. On or offline, you’ll be up against the big boys in retail, from Best Buy to Amazon, so come up with a great Black Friday idea and use what makes you special- you’re small, you’re local and you can build a following by going directly to your customers.

 

If you’re ever looking for marketing strategy advice, be sure to come by and visit our crew here at Octopus Creative!

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