Not everyone is a big fan of Black Friday. It used to be more of a game for savvy shoppers to hunt down special holiday deals. Then a lot of big box stores began to capitalize on the craze and start the sales just a little bit earlier each year.
It wasn’t long before it seemed like there was barely time to clear the turkey off the table and shove the dishes into the sink if you wanted to hit the earliest sales. Sales that started late Thanksgiving evening or at the stroke of midnight Friday morning.
As it turns out, employees didn’t exactly enjoy being dragged away from their pumpkin pie and grandparents to come open the doors for a few early shoppers. It also turns out that customers weren’t so keen on the idea either. The negative fallout among consumers in recent years has forced a number of larger retailers to go back to shutting their doors on Thanksgiving in order to let employees spend time with their families.
Now, even Black Friday seems to have lost its shimmer. While Black Friday is still a big shopping day for brick and mortar stores, sales are slowing down dramatically. In 2015, sales dropped 12% over just the previous year alone.
Savvy shoppers are now turning to Cyber Monday and online deals throughout the season in order to save just as much or more than they could on Black Friday. Many are becoming increasingly cynical about the gimmicky nature of Black Friday deals. Consumers realize that big box stores are using cheap, no-name substitutes for quality items to lure customers through the doors or sharply limiting quantities of the few quality deals available.
So, if you’re a small business owner, where does that leave you? Can you really afford to keep the door shut on Thanksgiving, skip the madness of Black Friday, and remain competitive?
You sure can.
In fact, if you do it right, you may be able to cut right through all the noise of the larger Black Friday promotions, hone in on your target market, and make them appreciate you even more for ducking the annual craze. Here’s how you can do it.
GET YOUR MESSAGE OUT AT THE OPTIMUM TIMEThe best way to keep your message from getting lost in all the noise created by your larger competitors is to talk about something different. If you can’t be the first place customers visit, make your message the last one they hear. And make it unique:
CREATE ENTHUSIASM AMONG SHOPPERSYou can still take advantage of Black Friday benefits by remembering that it’s largely about creating interest in your business, increasing foot traffic through your doors, and standing out from the competition:
DON’T FORGET TO USE SOCIAL MEDIAEven though Black Friday and Small Business Saturday are focused on bringing foot traffic through the doors, you don’t want to neglect your social media connections:
THE TAKEAWAYSmall businesses can easily skip Black Friday and still remain competitive by applying the same principles to Small Business Saturday. You can cash in on the growing anti-Black Friday sentiments of people who have begun to feel cheated by the increasingly structured nature of the event at big stores. And simultaneously you can capture the lingering enthusiasm of those who still enjoy the day but aren’t ready for it to end by offering them a scaled-down, more intimate version on Saturday.
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