Retailers are expected to ring up R11.3 billion in additional revenue from Black Friday promotions this year as South Africans stock up on discounted basics, splash out on luxury goods and get a head start on their Christmas shopping. Though it can be challenging to stand out from the clutter generated by big brands and retail groups, smaller businesses can also profit from this fixture on the shopping calendar.
Cutting through the competitive clutter
While Black Friday is associated with consumer retail bargains, companies in sectors ranging from corporate training to web hosting also take part. Well-designed promotions can be a great way to clear old stock, attract new customers and build hype for your business.
Here are some ideas about how SMEs can make some noise over this key promotional period:
1. Find creative ways to rise above the noise
Given the competition for the customer’s time and attention during this time of the year, an SME will need to make smart use of marketing tools like pay-per-click ads, social media, content marketing, and email marketing to stand out. Some tools and techniques to consider include:
Creating gift guides and how-to content on your blog or website;
Running competitions and giveaways on social media to generate interest;
Sending personalised mailers based on customers’ previous purchases to highlight deals they may be interested in;
Let customers know ahead of time which deals you’ll be running, and when, with countdowns on your website.
2. Create a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out)
Creating a sense of scarcity and urgency can help you to attract and convert customers during the Black Friday period. If they believe that a deal they are interested in is genuinely limited by time or stock availability, they’ll be more inclined to buy. Some tactics you can use include:
Bonuses for the first customers to order. For example, R100 off any order worth more than R1500 for the first five;
Flash sales - a time-limited promotion where customers have only a few hours or a day to buy;
Using countdowns on social media and your website to show how long a deal is running;
Updating the inventory available for a hot promotion in real-time to show how the offer is being snapped up.
3. Focus on existing customers, too
Black Friday is a great day to reward existing loyal customers and reengage with lapsed customers. You could, for example, send exclusive deals or discounts to customers who have opted into your email database. This technique can be effective because you are reaching people who are already doing business with you. It can help you strengthen your relationships with your key customers and retain their loyalty.
4. Ensure your website is ready for the pressure
It’s every business owner’s nightmare: not being able to meet customer demand because their website folds under the pressure of the users they attracted. Before Black Friday, it’s worth doing a website health check: