Black Friday is a huge event over in the US and here in the UK, more and more businesses are taking advantage of the opportunity to sell discounted products to an expectant audience.
Black Friday 2016, the third Black Friday officially recognised here in the UK, topped retailers’ expectations with the initial outlook from stores very positive, and Barclaycard recording a record number of transactions as shoppers took to the streets and online to buy.
One of the concerns about Black Friday, however, is its potential to favour bigger businesses. While national and global companies might have cash in reserve to buy in bulk and discount heavily without too much effect on their bottom line, smaller businesses can struggle to offer the same deals.
As a provider of address services to, amongst others, small businesses, we wanted to find out what effect Black Friday had on a number of small businesses this year and share some of the key lessons from 2016.
By learning more about how people shopped in 2016, and what small businesses did to achieve success, you can be well prepared to make the most of Black Friday next year.
Black Friday as an online event
The rise of online shopping won’t be a surprise to any UK retailers. There has always been an online aspect to the UK Black Friday weekend, but this year the effects were more pronounced than ever before.
While high street footfall fell by 7%, online shopping rose by 25%, aided by a surge in the early hours of the morning. A number of factors seem to have contributed to the shift, including over-crowded shops, convenience and working hours.
Whatever the reasons, businesses that focus on ecommerce and online sales have more reason than ever before to seriously consider taking part in Black Friday.
The popularity of mobile shopping
Alongside the rise of online purchases was the rise of mobile. The only data currently available for this phenomenon was from ChannelAdvisor in the US, but the numbers are still striking, showing more people than ever shopping on their mobile devices.
2016 was the first year that mobile orders surpassed desktop orders. Mobile usage is only increasing, so it seems like a no-brainer to make sure your mobile site is as good as it can be for Black Friday 2017.
The benefit of a strong landing page
Just BB Guns, a small, independent airsoft and BB gun retailer in the UK, saw record figures from this year’s Black Friday. Their success was largely due to a promotional campaign centred on their Black Friday landing page.
Having a special landing page for Black Friday as they did is a smart move. It is helpful to have as a paid advertising destination – rather than running paid campaigns for individual products, you can send all new customers to one central location where they can see all of the deals on offer.
It is also effective for more general publicity. Just BB Guns were able to outreach to industry publications and blogs, who featured their landing page. Again, having a single landing page that can be talked about is a much easier way to gain publicity than having to pick and choose different products.
You have to use social
Another small business that enjoyed a successful Black Friday was Hello Moon, a personalised poster and print retailer that sold half as much in the Black Friday week as they had in the whole year until that point.
Their campaign was largely driven by social media, advertising 40% off all of their posters and mugs through their Twitter account and paid social advertising.
Incorporating social media into your Black Friday strategy is more important than ever, as it allows you to reach those all-important mobile customers and to be very particular in the audiences that you target.
If you don’t use social media in the run up to Black Friday, you could be missing out on significant untapped audiences.
Key takeaways for 2017
A look at the stories from Black Friday 2016 gives important insight into what you should be doing in 2017. Below are the three key takeaways from everything we have looked at so far:
- Make sure your mobile site is ready. With online traffic generally and especially mobile traffic increasing in 2016, it’s fair to assume that the trend will be even more pronounced in 2017. A good mobile site is key to making lots of Black Friday sales.
- Create a Black Friday landing page and shout about it. A central page is a great place to advertise all of your best deals, and if industry blogs and publications here about it it can also be a great way to gain exposure.
- Make the most of social media, including paid advertising. By targeting specific groups of people, you can bring your offers in front of audiences that are full of people ready to snap up your deals.