Black Friday: A Quick Guide for Businesses
Black Friday is almost upon us. For the consumer, a chance to grab a bargain and for the business, an opportunity to get a slice of the £810m that was spent in the UK alone last year on the occasion (which this year is forecast to topple £1bn in 24 hours).
What is Black Friday?
It’s traditionally an American event that occurs the day after Thanksgiving which, thanks to the internet helping to globalise the marketplace, the UK has adopted. Black Friday falls on Friday 27th November this year, though many retailers commence deals the week (or weeks) prior to this. Preparation is vital, so here are a few guiding points to help you on your way.
1. Ensure Your Website Can Deal with Demand
Last year, traffic to johnlewis.com was up 307% compared the previous years’ Black Friday, though early in the day almost 10% couldn’t access the site due to sheer demand.
- Now is a good time to give your website a once-over – are your images optimised to a suitable size?
- How many customers can your website manage at any one time? Ensure that whoever deals with your hosting is on hand on the day.
- While you’re giving them the heads up, ask them how flexible your hosting package is and if it needs upgrading; can it deal with spikes of traffic, for example?
2. Ensure Your Staff Can Deal with Demand
This became a very real issue for the big retailers last year, with bargain-fuelled stampedes and scuffles making the news; so much so that Asda is not participating in Black Friday this year, while Tescos is closing it’s 24 hour stores for 5 hours at midnight ahead of the day. Even the National Police Chiefs’ Council have issued warnings to businesses, urging them to have the sufficient staff and security to deal with the swell of demand.
- For smaller businesses, resource management is vital. Are there enough people to deal with the influx of sales?
- How will you keep your shelves stocked? Will there be a dedicated member of staff manning the social channels, answering queries and promoting deals? Anticipate these and you’ll help avoid any negative impact on your customers’ experience.
3. Kickstart the Rush
Consider offering the first 10 customers an additional discount to get people through the door and queuing. Or perhaps you want to tap into the loyalty of your existing customers by giving them exclusive or early access to your Black Friday offers. Now is a good time to send those Black Friday newsletters!
4. Let People Know
Not everyone can or does get involved with Black Friday and consumers are often drawn to the big names. If you intend to get involved, tell people!
- Use your social networks to telegraph the upcoming offers and create the anticipation, buzz and demand for what you’re offering.
- Remember to include not just the offers but your opening times too (if you intend to extend your opening hours).
- Again, make sure someone is available to reply to any questions, concerns or queries.
5. Measure, Measure, Measure
Capitalise on your Black Friday success by ensuring you are tracking user behaviours to better equip you for next year’s event; which promotions did customers respond most to? Which words did they use to search for you? How many people abandoned their shopping cart? Which Facebook posts did people share or comment on the most? Which tweets were best received? All of this data will help you sharpen your offering year on year and tap into the pre-Christmas shopping frenzy that has, in just a matter of years, become a solid staple on our calendars.
Tom is the Creative Director of 3ManFactory (a leading integrated marketing agency based the North West that specialises in delivering high performance cross-platform marketing strategies and campaigns to engage and excite youth demographics) and lectures at the University of Central Lancashire in areas including digital marketing and online reputation management.