Black Friday – A Boost for the Smaller Retailers as Well as the Big Boys

Posted 23/11/20

2020 has been quite a year for e-commerce.

Covid-19 – and lockdown particularly – has seen consumers change their shopping habits entirely in response to new rules and their natural caution.

Online retailers have seen a surge in orders, with the likes of Tesco and Ocado i seeing an uplift of around 40% and Amazon reporting a global revenue of almost $100bn, according to latest figures.

This, of course, has had a detrimental effect on thousands of smaller retail businesses. In response, many have adapted their model to edge away from solely operating as bricks and mortar, and offer online sales as well.

It’s a move brought forward by Covid, but one all retailers should be considering if possible. E-commerce now accounts for 27.5% of all retail sales in the UK, and this is expected to reach one third by 2024.

At the end of this month is Black Friday – a growing global online retail event. This also represents an important opportunity for smaller retailers to promote their e-commerce offering to existing and new customers alike.

Originating in the Unites States following the crash of the US gold market in 1869, the term took on a new meaning in recognition of retailers making it back ‘into the black’ thanks to Thanksgiving holiday spending. Over time, the one-day sales event has developed into a week-long sales offering. While Black Friday itself isn’t till 27 November, most larger online retailers have stolen a march by announcing their sales items already.

Regardless of the size of the business, this remains an opportunity. This is a great time to upsell and cross-sell. Look to create discounts just for this week and bundle products together to create even better deals for your customers. Consider early-bird giveaways and value adds – maintain the original price of a product but throw something else into the mix.

Use social media as much as possible to promote all your deals, work with influencers and make sure you incorporate any hashtags around the event. Ask your customers to share their discounted purchased on social media themselves if they bagged a good deal, perhaps incentivising the social media share with an additional offer – to help spread  by word of mouth. If you have a robust database with the correct customer marketing permissions necesary, create an email campaign  that rewards loyalty by giving these customers an insight into the deals first.

And remember – it’s not just the one day. It’s now followed by Cyber Monday, and while the focus of this tends to be tech products, it still provides an opportunity to push any e-commerce offering you have created. 

With the additional focus on cyber it is also worth considering cyber insurance for your business. It would be a mistake to assume cyber security threats are the preserve of large businesses – every business relying on technology is a potential target, and smaller firms may not have the financial might to soak up the losses should they occur. We delve deeper into what cyber insurance is and why you may need it a separate article. Click here to read more.

There is no denying that Black Friday does work to the ongoing benefit of the larger online retailers, and it is their deals that the mainstream media often promotes. But as the shop local message builds momentum in response to the pandemic, and communities are more aware of what is on their doorstep, it provides a good opportunity for independent retailers too.

 Black Friday

i https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/coronavirus-ocado-sales-rise-latest-online-grocery-shopping-covid-19-a9500966.html

ii https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/oct/29/amazon-profits-latest-earnings-report-third-quarter-pandemic

iii https://www.emarketer.com/content/uk-ecommerce-2020

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