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Blog | Business Advice

An SME’s guide to achieving your Black Friday goals in 2022

By Bianca C

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November 11, 2022

While Black Friday is one of the most profitable times of the year for retail giants, 85% of smaller sellers in Britain say they’re boycotting the event as they fight unnecessary consumerism.

It would be interesting to see if South African businesses follow this trend. However, while competition might be fierce this time of year, there are several ways SMEs can compete with larger competitors.

Here’s how:

Get familiar with Black Friday shopping predictions.

Thinking back to 2020, we remember one of the worst Black Friday turnouts in the event’s history. With people losing jobs and our population remaining indoors, our priority wasn’t mindless shopping.

Since then, however, we have seen the weekend’s events regain their footing as one of the most profitable times of the year. So, what is Black Friday looking like in 2022?

  • Prepare for early purchases.
    Due to the sheer enormity of this shopping occasion, retailers are taking full advantage by offering sales opportunities long before the day. Caused primarily by overloaded website activity, inventory constraints and delivery disasters – it’s important to understand the impacts of such a day on your business operations and the needs of your customers so you can  make a plan to ensure smooth-sailing sales.
  • Beat your competitors.
    Buyers want value from the moment they open your website or step into your store. In the past few years, value was found in frictionless shopping experiences online, but now customers want more. Markets are fierce out there, so implementing smart pricing tactics is what will give you the lead against your competitors.
  • Brick-and-mortar stores are making a comeback.
    While online shopping is a great point of convenience, not everyone has had positive experiences, and many consumers simply enjoy the process of interacting in-store. Some even look online for the sole purpose of making a decision before heading in-store to purchase. The buyer’s journey isn’t as linear as one might expect. Therefore, it’s important to streamline digital vs physical shopping experiences.
  • Sustainability sells.
    One of the most interesting behaviours to come out of the pandemic was consumers investing more in brands who contribute positively to society. Elements like sustainability became a leading decision-influencer in the buying journey. With Black Friday coming up, consider your carbon footprint and highlight your initiatives around sustainable practices.

Do Black Friday better than the titans.

While companies like Takealot, Yuppiechef and Superbalist seemingly have right of way, there isn’t anything stopping SMEs from playing to their strengths.

Considering the consumer’s desire to shop from local businesses and support SMEs, you need to follow consumer behaviour trends and ensure you meet them spot on.

Here are a few ways you can do Black Friday better than retail giants:

  • Deliver on your promises. Shoppers have taught themselves to expect only the best. So, if you’re promising superior customer service and seamless shopping experiences, you have to deliver that. Sometimes, that isn’t always easy when you’re a small business in a big pond of demanding customers. But, you can manage your portion of the pond by offering subscriber-only deals or spreading your sales out over a longer period.
  • Don’t forget to personalise. One shopping behaviour to emerge in recent years is personalised interactions; something larger retailers struggle to do with a larger, before-mentioned, portion of the pond. Here, SMEs have the upper hand. For example, you can leverage WhatsApp Business to interact with customers and learn more about their favourite products/services, then use that information to drive offers & discounts based on these insights.
  • Prepare your infrastructure. Through stories of site crashes, disrupted servers and payment issues – we’ve learned that preparing for interruptions should be top of mind. While SMEs need to invest in quality technology to support increased website traffic and sales volumes, there isn’t always the budget to contend with competitors. But, that’s when you leverage the tools at your disposal.

The tools at your disposal.

Including WhatsApp Business, analytics software and your very own mailing lists, there are tools with the capabilities of supporting SMEs this Black Friday.

  • WhatsApp Business. Connect with people where you know they are daily. Not only is it free for both you and the customer, but it also offers automated messaging to manage customer service levels. Businesses can also create catalogues that highlight products, their sale prices and links to purchase on the website.
  • Mailing lists. Manage your traffic on Black Friday, while also growing your mailing list, by offering exclusive discounts only to customers who have signed up for it. And provided you’re following the POPI Act, use this growing database to set up remarketing audiences.
  • Analytics software. Tools such as site speed tests should be considered when offering customers seamless digital shopping experiences. Some also use heatmaps like Hotjar to find out what their customers are most interested in.

To conclude…

For SMEs, Black Friday might be a stressful time of the year. Considering what sales to run, improving technology and ensuring there’s sufficient stock – all while competing against major retailers – can be daunting.

However, there are various strategies that small businesses can implement to successfully manage the day, as well as tools to support those strategies. By applying for business finance with Bridgement, you can ensure you’re able to invest in what you need to, to compete and support your Black Friday goals.

Apply today: Bridgement Funding Simplified

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