Boosting sales on Black Friday: a guide for SMEs

Unlock the secrets to boosting Black Friday sales —from social media tactics and store activations to strategic staff hiring and exploring funding opportunities
Black Friday SMEs
Ashleigh B.
Marketing Wiz-Guru

Black Friday has become a global shopping phenomenon, and for small businesses in South Africa, it presents a significant opportunity to boost sales and attract new customers. This guide will walk you through the basics of Black Friday, its importance for small retailers, effective marketing and sales tactics, and the value of funding options, to ensure a successful and profitable Black Friday.

Understanding Black Friday

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday is a shopping day that originated in the United States and takes place annually on the Friday following Thanksgiving. It marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and is characterized by massive discounts and promotions offered by retailers. Over the years, Black Friday has gained traction worldwide, including in South Africa.  

Why is Black Friday important for small retailers in South Africa?

Black Friday holds immense significance for small retailers in South Africa as it serves as a pivotal moment for strategic growth and financial success. Firstly, the day presents a golden opportunity for small businesses to witness a substantial surge in revenue. The heightened consumer enthusiasm and inclination to make purchases during this period enable small retailers to showcase their products or services through enticing discounts, thus drawing in a larger customer base and generating considerable sales. Moreover, Black Friday is a strategic avenue for small businesses to efficiently manage their inventory by clearing out excess stock. By strategically discounting surplus items, businesses can not only recover costs but also streamline their product offerings in preparation for upcoming seasons. Additionally, the allure of Black Friday discounts acts as a powerful magnet for new customers, allowing small retailers to expand their customer base and potentially convert one-time shoppers into loyal patrons. Furthermore, participating in Black Friday promotions enables small retailers to stand shoulder to shoulder with larger counterparts, establishing themselves as credible and competitive players in the market. This heightened visibility contributes not only to immediate sales but also to long-term brand recognition and customer loyalty, solidifying their position as go-to destinations for holiday shopping.

Boosting Black Friday sales through effective marketing

Boosting Black Friday sales through marketing

1. Early promotion

Start promoting your Black Friday deals well in advance. Create a sense of anticipation by teasing exclusive offers on your social media channels, website, and email newsletters. This not only builds excitement but also ensures that customers are aware of your promotions before the big day.

2. Social media engagement

Leverage the power of social media to engage with your audience. Create eye-catching graphics and videos to showcase your Black Friday deals. Encourage customers to share your posts and run social media contests to increase visibility. Consider using popular hashtags related to Black Friday and your industry to broaden your reach.

3. Email marketing campaigns

Craft compelling email campaigns to target your existing customer base. Send out newsletters with sneak peeks of your Black Friday deals, exclusive discounts for subscribers, and countdown timers to create a sense of urgency. Personalize your emails based on customer preferences and purchase history to make your offers more relevant.

4. Collaborations and partnerships

Consider partnering with other local businesses for joint promotions. Cross-promotions and collaborations can help you reach new audiences and create a sense of community. This is particularly effective for small businesses looking to pool resources and enhance their visibility during the Black Friday shopping frenzy.  

5. Mobile-friendly approach

Ensure that your online presence is mobile-friendly, as many customers will be browsing and shopping on their smartphones. Optimize your website for mobile use, streamline the checkout process, and consider developing a dedicated mobile app if feasible. A seamless mobile experience will contribute to higher conversion rates.

Sales tactics for Black Friday success

1. Bundle offers

Create attractive bundle deals by combining popular products or services. Offering bundled packages at a discounted price can entice customers to spend more and increase the overall value of their purchases.  

2. Limited-time offers

Implement time-sensitive promotions to create a sense of urgency. Limited-time offers and flash sales encourage customers to make quick decisions, driving immediate sales. Use countdown timers on your website and in your marketing materials to emphasize the urgency of your Black Friday deals.  

3. Loyalty programs and rewards

Reward your loyal customers with exclusive Black Friday discounts or early access to promotions. Loyalty programs can encourage repeat business and help build a dedicated customer base. Consider offering points or discounts for future purchases based on the amount spent during the Black Friday sale.  

4. In-store events and experiences

If you have a physical storefront, consider hosting in-store events or experiences to attract foot traffic. Live demonstrations, tastings, or entertainment can create a memorable shopping experience and set your business apart from online competitors.

5. Seamless online shopping experience

For businesses with an online presence, ensure that your website is user-friendly and capable of handling increased traffic. Optimize load times, streamline the checkout process, and offer multiple payment options to enhance the online shopping experience for customers. If you need some help from the e-commerce experts themselves, Shopify have put together a couple of tips to boost online sales as well over this busy period.  

The value of funding

As the countdown to Black Friday begins, it’s time to stock up on your inventory and hire more staff. If you don’t have the funds right now to succeed over this busy period, then it might be time to consider business funding. There are a number of different SME funding types that can assist you during your business growth journey, especially over the festive season. A popular funding type particularly to boost Black Friday sales is a merchant cash advance.  

Merchant Cash Advance

What is a merchant cash advance?

A merchant cash advance is a loan specifically designed for businesses (merchants) who use card machines to take payments. The mechanism of funding, and repayment is what makes this product unique. A merchant is essentially buying early access to their expected turnover, so that they can use the finance they need.

Why POS devices?  

Card machines,  POS devices or QR code payments provide an easy to interpret data source for lenders. It is a very predictable way to estimate how much a business can afford to repay.  

They also make repayment very easy. Most MCA lenders automatically deduct a portion of your card/QR code sales, to make for easy and proportional repayment.

No collateral required

Because the lender is making a decision on your propensity to pay, not how many assets you own, this is a type of unsecured loan.

Why is a Merchant Cash Advance a good idea for Black Friday sales?  

Merchant Cash Advance

Access to immediate capital

Black Friday preparations often require additional capital for inventory, marketing, and staffing. A merchant cash advance provides businesses with quick access to funds based on their previous card sales. This can be crucial for small retailers looking to maximize their Black Friday potential.

Flexible repayment

Merchant cash advances offer flexibility in repayment, as they are tied to a percentage of future credit card sales. During busy periods like Black Friday, when sales are high, the repayment amount increases. During slower periods, the repayment amount adjusts accordingly, easing the financial burden on small businesses.  

No fixed monthly payments

Unlike traditional loans, merchant cash advances do not require fixed monthly payments. The repayment is directly linked to sales, making it a suitable option for businesses with fluctuating revenue, such as those heavily impacted by seasonal trends like Black Friday.  

Easy application process  

The application process for a merchant cash advance via FundingHub is much simpler and faster than traditional loans. This quick access to funding can be crucial when time is of the essence, especially in the lead-up to Black Friday.

A couple of quick wins and tactics for Black Friday

Let’s be honest as an SME heading into Black Friday season, you need all the help you can get to make sure it’s a financially successful time for your business. We’ve got a couple more tactics and tips up our sleeve to make sure your business is soaring over this crucial time.  

Train your staff  

Ensure that your staff is well-trained and prepared for the increased demand during Black Friday. Provide additional support, if necessary, and emphasize the importance of excellent customer service to leave a positive impression on shoppers.

Connect with your customers throughout

To truly stand out during the Black Friday shopping frenzy, focus on fostering a genuine connection with your customers. It’s really important to leverage different channels to express gratitude. Consider incorporating personal touches such as handwritten notes or offering post-purchase discounts. By connecting on a personal level, you can create a memorable shopping experience that goes beyond transactions.

Plan for Black Friday to a tee

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, meticulous planning is essential. Businesses need to be highly visible on platforms like Google and email as customers start their research early. Manage timelines with precision, especially from a technological perspective. Hold off on releasing complex features or upgrades until after the holiday rush to minimise the risk of technical issues on your website during high traffic periods.  

Collaborate with other small businesses

One of the unique advantages of small businesses is the ability to collaborate directly with other entrepreneurs. Explore collaboration opportunities with complementary businesses, avoiding direct competition. For instance, if you sell coffee roasting beans, consider partnering with a local independent coffee shop for a joint promotion. Collaborative efforts can take various forms, including shop-in-shop concepts, collaborative products, and cross-promotional campaigns. By joining forces, small businesses can expand their reach, share customer bases, and amplify their impact during the Black Friday shopping extravaganza.

Monitor your sales

Track the performance of your Black Friday promotions in real-time. Utilize analytics tools to monitor website traffic, sales data, and customer behaviour. This information will help you make informed decisions and optimize your strategy for future events.  

Engage with your customers afterwards  

Don't let the momentum fade after Black Friday. Engage with customers post-purchase through follow-up emails, thank-you messages, and surveys. Encourage them to share their experiences on social media and consider offering post-Black Friday promotions to maintain customer interest.  

Learn from your previous years

Reflect on your past Black Friday experiences. Analyse what worked well and what could be improved. Use this knowledge to refine your strategies and make informed decisions for future Black Friday sales.

And that’s a wrap…

Black Friday presents a unique opportunity for small businesses in South Africa to boost sales, attract new customers, and strengthen their position in the market. By implementing effective marketing and sales tactics, considering the value of funding options like merchant cash advances, and incorporating additional pointers for success, small retailers can make the most of this high-stakes shopping day. Remember, preparation, creativity, and a customer-centric approach are key to ensuring a successful and profitable Black Friday for your business.

Merchant Cash Advance Black friday
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