Black Friday 2016: How Can Smaller Retailers Compete Against the Big Boys?
Black Friday was just an American thing until quite recently. Retailers in the UK are joining in lately, and 2016 looks like it will be huge. I'll assume that you know what Black Friday is, and what it means for the retail world. What you're looking for are tips on how to take advantage of the spending frenzy that is sure to ensue.
When Is Black Friday in 2016?
It usually falls right on the first day after Thanksgiving. But since Britain doesn't celebrate that particular holiday, that date's not set in stone. It's going to be Friday 25 this coming November. But that doesn't mean savvy retailers need to wait to start luring in shoppers with early deals.
Trends and Plans from Big Retailers
The biggest retail sellers have a lot of plans when it comes to Black Friday. I'll share some of their past experiences, as well as plans for the future. Naturally, not everyone is keen to divulge information about their sales strategies for this year. However, it's clear that simply offering sales on the day is not enough to be a true contender.
Take a look at Amazon, as they are starting their Black Friday sales 12 days earlier this year. The online retail giant recorded 86 sales each second for Black Friday 2015. In the UK, it was their largest sales day in history. Popular products were Xbox One, the Fifa 16 video game, Kindle Fire, Samsung TVs,
Boots is said to be planning a sales bonanza for 2016. They reduced the prices for a lot of their fragrances last Black Friday.
Tesco is primarily a grocery store. However, they were selling phones, TVs, hair straighteners, and coffee makers last year.
Asos was giving 20% discounts to their customers, through the use of a checkout code.
Argos was taking over half the price off some of their cameras last year. They're telling shoppers to look at opening times and be mindful of the contents of their online shopping baskets.
John Lewis reported 15.5% more online sales during Black Friday. They had the best results with laptops, TVs, and other electrical items.
Halfords has created a webpage for Black Friday, so customers can shop in advance and figure out what they want to buy.
GAME had a five day sale last year, and they also had one-hour sales for specific consoles and video games. They weren't just offering the usual bargain items either. These were some of the most popular items at the time.
Advice for Small Retailers
Electronics are huge right now! If you don't offer electronic items, consider how you might fit some in with your existing products. People want smart TVs, games, consoles, phones, laptops, tablets, accessories like headphones, cases, portable speakers, charging devices, docks, etc.
Record players are also a trending niche item at the moment, but people like the retro look if they're going to impulse buy one. True devotees are more likely to shop for boutique or highest quality players.
Starting sales early seems to be a key tactic. This doesn't necessarily mean offering the discounts early. Some stores are recommending customers bookmark products they want, or create a shopping cart early and wait to check out until Black Friday.
The goal for retailers is to keep shoppers interested in all items that might go on sale, without telling them for sure. Telling people exactly what to expect will give them time to compare and shop around in advance. That gives away too much of your draw power, leaving little more than price to differentiate your online shop from competitors. You will want to find alternative ways to excite people and draw them to your online retail shop though.
On the other hand, if you have a deal that you know is unbeatable, it's probably wise to advertise the details in advance. As a smaller retailer, you can't expect people to come to you unless they know you have something they want.
Don't expect shops to stick to the product ranges they typically sell throughout the rest of the year. And it might help to offer special items that you wouldn't usually sell. This can encourage impulse buys from people who are excited to see a deal on an item they thought they wouldn't be able to find, and one they didn't expect you'd have.
Offer big discounts on popular items that tend to sell well. Black Friday is all about getting the big ticket items that would usually cost way too much for the average person to splurge on. If you're going to play the game, do it properly, like the big boys do.
BONUS CONTENT: Prepare your website for the Christmas Frenzy