Navigating Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a Small Business: a Guide to Holiday Sales, Promotions, and More

by Greg DePersio

3 min read

Black Friday and Cyber Monday represent the two most frantic shopping days of the year in the United States. Shoppers spend millions of dollars at large and small businesses alike as they scramble to find the best deals on their holiday list items. In fact, legend has it that Black Friday is so named because the day represents the first time that many retailers enter the black, or become profitable, for the year.

Maximizing your company’s potential for Black Friday and Cyber Monday ensures you end the year on a positive note. Especially if your business caters to American shoppers, these two days should be a boon for you. But even if your customers come mostly from Canada, plenty of Canadians are also known to throw money around on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Here are some ideas to help your small business marketing so you can make the most out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

25 Days of Christmas Promotions

Black Friday and Cyber Monday should be big days for your business, but hopefully your holiday boom doesn’t stop there. The entire month of December and its slew of holidays provides an opportunity to cash in big. To do so, however, you have to entice customers in the door, and not only on the two days that kick off the season.

Running promotions on Black Friday and Cyber Monday is highly effective, but continuing these promotions throughout December is even better. While many of your competitors are myopically focused on two shopping days, you can get a leg up by running a 25 days of Christmas promotion that offers seasonal deals that start on Black Friday and continue all the way to Christmas Eve, on which your business unveils the biggest discounts of the season.

Black Friday Promotions

Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, and that doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon. Hordes of customers are on the prowl looking for deals, but to capture your share of them, your deals need to stand out.

Whether you offer 20%, 30%, or 50% off isn’t the most important thing on that day; every business is going to make its deals sound unbeatable. Stand out from the crowd by offering more than simple percentage discounts. For example, offering free setup and service on electronics purchases, or free help with delivery and installation for unwieldy goods such as appliances, helps your customers save not only money but also time and energy during the busy holiday season.

Cyber Monday Deals

Though millions of shoppers brave the crowds and cram into packed malls and retailers on Black Friday, others cannot stand the stress and prefer to stay home and shop on Cyber Monday, when online retailers are known for offering their biggest discounts of the year. Even if your business doesn’t operate primarily online, that shouldn’t stop you from taking advantage of the opportunity to cash in on Cyber Monday.

Cyber Monday deals online often include a combination of a certain percentage or dollar amount off, plus free or reduced shipping and a bonus item thrown in with the purchase of another item. You can offer the same benefits in your store whether online or offline. If you have a brick-and-mortar business that sells goods that don’t need to be shipped, consider buy-one-get-one promotions or letting customers pick out any item $25 or less for free for every $100 they spend.

Marketing Your Holiday Sales and Promotions

Even if you have the best holiday deals in town, your customers can’t take advantage of them if they don’t know about them. Marketing your holiday promotions is key. Get creative with your promotions. Utilize social media in the days leading up to Black Friday. Many of your potential customers will be off work and have more time to spend surfing Facebook and Twitter. Also, don’t be afraid to get aggressive and poach customers from your big box competitors. If you see them standing in line for hours, dispatch an employee to promote your business’ better deals and shorter wait.

Predicting Customer Response

The other side of the equation is if your marketing efforts work too well and result in more customers than you have inventory to sell to or manpower to service. Nothing depresses a business owner more than having to turn away customers who have their wallets out ready to give them money.

Run test campaigns to gauge how busy you’ll be, and respond by having enough employees on duty and boosting your inventory to the appropriate levels. If you don’t sell all your inventory on Black Friday or even in December, remember that many customers hit the streets in January hoping to scoop up after-the-holidays bargains.

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