Person holding gift bags while holiday shopping.
Black Friday isn't just for big business, and these seven tips offer effective strategies small businesses can take to capitalize on this year's shopping 'holiday.' — Getty Images/ArtMarie

Whether you run a brick-and-mortar store or an e-commerce business, Black Friday is a great opportunity to find new customers and increase your profits. That’s because 30% of all retail sales occur between Black Friday and Christmas. Let’s look at seven steps you can take to prepare your business for Black Friday.

[Read more: How Stores Can Prepare for an Unusual Holiday Season]

Watch what bigger companies are doing

Your business may not be able to replicate Amazon or Target, but studying their promotional strategies can help you come up with additional ideas. How are these companies marketing their Black Friday deals, and what tactics are customers responding to?

For instance, in addition to highlighting its daily deals, Amazon also provides holiday gift guides for its customers. Offering a gift guide can be a great way to highlight products you provide that your customers may be unaware of.

Come up with a promotional plan

The best way to ensure your Black Friday is a success is to come up with a promotional plan now. Decide which products and services you want to promote, where you plan to advertise, and the types of deals you plan to offer. Coming up with a high-level marketing plan will help you decide what to focus on if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

[Read more: How to Run a Successful Digital Marketing Campaign]

Offer steep discounts

If you want to attract new customers this year, you need to be willing to offer steep discounts. Of course, the exact discount will depend on your industry and what your competitors are offering. But a survey from CreditDonkey found that 43% of customers are willing to clip a coupon if they receive at least 25% off.

Supply chain and delivery problems are at an all-time high this year, so be sure to take stock of your inventory levels before Black Friday arrives. Make sure you have adequate stock of your most popular items so you can capitalize on Black Friday.

Review your point-of-sale (POS) system

Businesses need to accept as many payment options as possible. That means accepting credit cards, debit cards, gift cards and contactless payments at the bare minimum.

Using a point-of-sale (POS) system like Square will allow you to accept all of these payment types through one terminal. You also have the option to email or print receipts, and the analytics dashboard will give you insights into your transactions.

[Read more: Guide to Choosing the Best POS System for Your Company]

Check your inventory

Supply chain and delivery problems are at an all-time high this year, so be sure to take stock of your inventory levels before Black Friday arrives. Make sure you have adequate stock of your most popular items so you can capitalize on Black Friday.

If you sell items online and through a retail store, you might offer your customers an additional incentive to shop in-store. Encouraging in-store shopping will help you move more products and reduce your delivery services.

Start hiring additional staff now

If you need additional staff to help out on Black Friday, you should start hiring for those needs now. Figure out how many additional team members you’ll need and what it’ll take to train those people and get them ready.

Hiring has been a struggle for many companies, and you may feel like running a small business puts you at a disadvantage. You might consider offering a bonus to temporary employees who stay on through the entire holiday season.

Keep it simple

Finally, while it always helps to learn from more prominent retailers, you shouldn’t try to copy their efforts. Come up with one or two sales you want to focus on, and put your energy into executing them well.

Keeping your plans simple will ensure you can provide a positive experience for your customers and avoid unnecessary mistakes. It will also make it easier for you to continue these efforts throughout Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published October 15, 2021