As Thanksgiving 2013 quickly approaches, the day retailers have been planning and waiting for all year is almost upon us. You likely won’t be surprised to learn that Black Friday and the rest of the Thanksgiving weekend represent one the most significant sources of revenue for many retailers.
For instance, did you know that:
- 139.4 million shoppers visited store websites on the Black Friday weekend in 2012 (source: National Retail Federation via CNN)
- Average spending per person rose from $398 in 2011 to $423 in 2012 (source: National Retail Foundation)
- Total spending on the holiday weekend 2012 was $59.1 billion (source: National Retail Foundation)
- Online Black Friday sales increased by almost 21% over 2011 (source: ShopperTrak via CNN)
Apart from the huge amounts of money being spent on Black Friday, an interesting trend I am seeing more and more of is retailers offering Black Friday deals earlier in the season; up to several weeks early in fact for online retailers (side note: As I'm writing this post, I just received an email entitled ‘Black Friday Weekend Savings: Now Through Cyber Monday).
And according to CBS News, brick and mortar stores are doing the same: With the announcement by several big box retailers like Macy’s, JCPenney and Kmart that they would be opening their stores as early as 6am on Thanksgiving Day, many smaller retailers are offering early savings as well.
So what does this mean for the small business owners? While all signs point to the need to offer Black Friday specials, how do you go about doing this?
Here are 5 easy ways you can increase your sales this holiday weekend.
1. Hint at your Black Friday promotions in the preceding weeks.
If you will be offering a Black Friday deal, be sure to offer hints or sneak peaks in the weeks leading up to the holidays. This is a great way to pique interest, and to prepare your customers for what’s ahead.
2. Promote your specials through all your channels.
If there was ever a time to take advantage of every communication channel you have, this is it. On this busiest shopping weekend of the year, let your customers, social media followers and email subscribers know about your plans.
It’s important that you don't overwhelm your customers with emails and social media updates; at the same time, with so much competition this time of year, you do need to make sure your message is heard amidst the noise.
3. Start your promotions early.
As mentioned above, many big box stores are opening their doors as early as Thanksgiving Day, and many online retailers are offering specials weeks in advance.
By offering your specials in the days or weeks before Black Friday, you may be able to capture some of that spending before your competitors do. One strategy is to offer a ‘deal of the day’ in the week before Black Friday; another is to offer additional incentives to buy early (for instance, free shipping when you order before November 29).
4. Offer special deals to loyal customers.
Reward your current customers with special deals, limited access to products or services, or ‘early bird’ pricing. This is a great way not only to continue to build customer loyalty, but to expand your holiday offerings.
5. Offer a flexible return guarantee.
To reduce the feeling of risk your customers may experience, offer a flexible and generous return policy on all products or services purchased on the holiday weekend. Chances are, any returns that do happen will be more than made up for by the increase in sales made because of the policy.
If you haven't already planned a Black Friday special, it’s not too late! There’s still time to promote your offerings through social media, your email list and on your website. By using the 5 strategies outlined above, you can generate buzz about your special, while at the same time increasing customers’ trust in your business.
Are you offering any specials this Black Friday? Have you started promoting them already? Share a link to your deal or promotion in the comments below!