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How to put a small business slant on Black Friday

How to put a small business slant on Black Friday

Posted 28th October, 2020 by Sarah

Black Friday – love it or hate it?

If you or your web design clients run a small business, the chances are you’ll be on the fence about it – you’ll probably be able to see the benefits on paper – after all, some reports suggest that Brits are planning to spend as much as £7 million on Black Friday weekend 2020.

However, you may also have concerns about everything to do with the event, from the logistics (make sure your website security and web hosting power is ready for traffic spikes) to the ability of small enterprises to be able to compete with major Black Friday players like Amazon and Apple.

The good news is, if you’re in two minds about the event, you’re not alone.

Reports suggest that even the British public are having second thoughts about the day. A 2019 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that UK shoppers were becoming increasingly cynical about the deals on offer on Black Friday – 29 per cent said the deals weren’t exciting enough anymore and 20 per cent believed the offers weren’t genuine.

They’re right to be a little sceptical – in 2019 Which? carried out a check on 83 items on sale during Black Friday and found that almost all of them were cheaper or available at the same price at other times of the year.

While some polls show that 20 percent of small businesses intend to sit out of Black Friday promotions this year, PricewaterhouseCoopers explains that ignoring the event all together could alienate customers.

So, what can small businesses really do to attract attention on Black Friday - 27th November 2020?

The answer is to put their own slant on things.

Here are a few tactics.

Get onboard with #buynothing day

Buy Nothing Day was started in 1992 and moved to coincide with Black Friday in 1997 as a way for people to protest about overconsumption.

While original activities associated with Buy Nothing Day included credit card cut ups and conga dances through shopping malls, the day has recently taken on a much less militant tone.

In 2019, small businesses were using the concept of #buynothing day to showcase their ethical sides and get to know their customers better.

Some invited customers in store or online to learn how to upcycle or regift products their businesses had sold in previous years.

Other small businesses lent out a selection of products instead of selling them. Others still hosted community events like swap shops.

Donate on the day

Over recent years, more and more businesses have tried to be a little more ethical on Black Friday by promising to make donations to causes close to their hearts for any purchases made on the day. In 2019, eco fashion brand Everlane, for example, committed to donate $10 to Oceana, an ocean protection organisation, for every order placed on Black Friday.

B2B commerce news platform PYMENTS has recently speculated that, due to the pandemic, more businesses, especially smaller ones, will go down this route with their Black Friday marketing activity.

“It’s not hard to imagine Black Friday or even Cyber Monday using charity donations as consumer motivation to shop," the PYMENTS report said.

Take part in Giving Tuesday

As hinted at in the point above, more businesses are choosing to celebrate Giving Tuesday website instead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

For example, in 2019, clothing company Ivory Ella promised to donate the proceeds of any beanies bought on Giving Tuesday to a charity that buys coats for children in need.

The Giving Tuesday website suggests that businesses can use the campaign to launch something new such as a new CSR programme, a new charity partner or a new way of giving.

The website is also full of real world examples of how small UK businesses have got onboard with Giving Tuesday.

Show your values

If you or your client can’t afford to offer customers 50 per cent off products, you can use Black Friday to showcase your company values.

Take inspiration from outdoor clothing brand Rei, which gave all its employees a day off on Black Friday in order for them to get outside and explore the great outdoors.

The company also organised a number of nationwide beach clean-up events to give customers a reason to get outside, too.

Change the colour of the day to suit you

In 2019, sustainable clothing brand Tentree decided to rename Black Friday as Green Friday in order to showcase its brand personality.

The company, which plants 10 trees for every item it sells, aimed to hit one million tree plantations as a result of Green Friday week sales.

To take inspiration from Tentree, take some time to think about your product range and see if it lends itself to any other coloured day – beauticians, for example, could offer discounts on red nail manicures on Red Friday. There’s a rainbow of possibilities out there.


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