Black Friday: Should SMEs get involved?

This week marks the arrival of the retail phenomenon known as Black Friday, the US import that caused mile-long queues and scenes of confrontation in stores over here last year. Participation could be lucrative, with an estimated £810 million spent in 2014. But with already-squeezed margins and little room for manoeuvre in terms of pricing, is it worth small businesses jumping on the bandwagon? Here are a few points to consider:

Black friday

It’s not only for the big boys

Although it can be argued that Black Friday mostly benefits the larger retail brands, there’s still scope for small businesses to get a slice of the action too. By simply applying a few discounts here and there, you’ll still be taking part but won’t end up blowing a huge hole in your finances.

Don’t forget that as a small business, you’ll be able to offer your customers the personal touch that most large companies can’t. Use this to your advantage to further enhance your chances of success.

It doesn’t have to cost the earth

As mentioned above, it’s not necessary to apply discounts to everything you sell. Think smart and take a look at your most popular products – would the price cut you offer be offset by an increase in sales?

Some small businesses reported success last year by just offering a discounted delivery service and keeping their products at full price. This could be a tricky tactic, however, as customers are likely to expect to get things cheaper as well.

The demand is out there

Research from Royal Mail shows that 60% of UK consumers are planning on flexing their shopping muscles this Black Friday, so small businesses could be missing out on a golden opportunity by not taking part.

If you did decide to opt out of the event, you wouldn’t be alone. Asda has announced it won’t be getting involved this year, a result of scenes where consumers were fighting among themselves to get the best deals.

Of course, a brand as large as Asda can well afford not to bother with Black Friday. The question is, can your business?

Grab some of the limelight

Black Friday also presents a great opportunity to get your business noticed. Assuming you have a social media profile, it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon and increase both awareness about your company and your reach – either by using hashtags or as a way to promote your products.

Over to you

Are you small business owner? Are you going to get involved with Black Friday? What do you plan on doing for it? Let us know on Twitter.

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