Andy Wilson, Media Director at Dropbox, gives us his thoughts on what Black Friday and Cyber Monday mean for online creators and entrepreneurs and outlines how to market a small business online and get the most out of the event and its immediate aftermath.
Black Friday marks the biggest shopping day of the year for many businesses. Despite it starting as a US concept, it has been slowly adopted by retailers all over the UK. Now, Black Friday promotions are everywhere, having made its mark as an essential time for both small businesses (SMEs) and independent creators to bring in new customers.
According to recent research, two-thirds of UK consumers say they are waiting until Black Friday and Cyber Monday to make certain purchases - especially in the run-up to Christmas. Many Brits have said that they have been affected by the rising cost of living this year and, with talks of a recession, increasing energy bills and tax hikes, 92% of UK shoppers say they have already been impacted by rising prices. As a result, more shoppers are looking for ways to bag a bargain on discounted products.
As shoppers are becoming increasingly picky about where their money goes, SMEs need to think about how they can be well-prepared ahead of the rush. With that in mind, I’ve pulled together my tips for businesses to stay organised this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, in order to drive seasonal growth.
Communicate with colleagues
Although they may be small, SMEs make up a big portion of the UK economy, accounting for 99.9% of the business population. In fact, at the start of 2022, there were around 5.5 million UK private sector businesses.
As a small business, you have to place efficiency at the heart of what you do. For those that work with suppliers across the world, this can be difficult. Harnessing collaboration technology can help keep distributed teams connected and improve efficiency. Make sure you are all using the same tools to stay in sync.
Black Friday and the following sales weekend until Cyber Monday can have a dramatic impact on the traffic heading to websites as well as email communications from customers. Make sure that your team know exactly how they are expected to manage with the influx of new business and enquiries. Share campaign plans for promotions with all sales staff, and partners, so they know how you’ll release offers and which social media posts they should be sharing to promote the sales.
For support teams, it’s vital to have a set of Black Friday Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that they should expect to receive from customers, and the ideal response to these - whether via the website, phone lines or on social - consistency is vital when you are juggling an influx of business.
From discount codes, to marketing strategies, it’s ideal to have one shared folder that the entire team can refer to. Make it easy for all your colleagues to share your promotions on social, with templates and content shared ready for posting. Having access to your content on all your devices makes this really easy if your team are on the move and want to post from their mobiles. This way, you’ll streamline processes, mitigate back-and-forth, and free up your time to focus on interacting with your audience and pushing sales.
Maintain a learning mindset
Many small businesses are navigating shifts in sales numbers and working styles, so it’s important for leaders to go into this sales period with both an adaptive mindset. Ensure you experiment and then shift quickly to accommodate changes that fit your customer.
Put time aside following Black Friday to ensure that there is time to reflect on what went well, and what could go better next year. Writing down your ‘retro’ will help you and your business.
Ultimately, flexibility is key
While Black Friday can be challenging no matter the retail business, it can also be wholly rewarding - especially when businesses are able to provide flexibility and autonomy for their employees and consumers.
With a flexible approach to your communication style, mindset and business strategy, small businesses can find even more innovative ways to serve their customers this holiday. And finally, don’t forget to say thank you. It’s easy to get caught up in the frenetic buzz of lots of new orders and customer connections. After the sales are over remember to celebrate those staff on the front lines who have made it all possible.