Black Friday & Cyber Monday, are the days of shopping extravaganza, & every retailer tries to make a killing. The online giants like Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy etc. get themselves armed to the teeth to capture a sizable portion of the sales. It is difficult to compete with these brands, but the right strategy and planning can surely help Small and Medium businesses to boost their sales.
It’s About Technology & Strategy
Black Friday is not only about high temperature online campaigns, but it’s also about strategic preparation. In 2011, Best Buy mismanaged Black Friday sales, and had to cancel customer orders; this fiasco resulted not only in lost sales but also in an erosion of its brand equity and trust. According to a study by Lee Resources Inc, a consultancy firm, 91% of dissatisfied customers are certain to avoid the brand with which they had a bitter experience. The hyper-competition leaves no margin for error, as the other firm is there, just a click away.
The lesson here is two folds; firms must invest in marketing that results in customer footfalls and purchases, but they should also ensure that their offers and orders are supported by proper supply chain systems to deliver on their promises.
Black Friday Strategy For Small & Medium Business (SMBs)
SMBs must not compete with retail giants but focus on their strengths to reap high rewards.
- It’s not “Only” About Money: Though it is about profit, it is Thanksgiving as well. Associate your earnings with a noble cause like charity, etc.; it will make people more willing to try your products. Charity events on a later date can help you develop a better brand identity.
- Shopping experience: Store visits are about the shopping experience, and that differentiates it from online stores. Ensure that customers enjoy pleasant and relaxed shopping experience with best and unique products.
- E-commerce Website & Social Media Campaign: It is essential to have a well-functioning E-Commerce portal that can handle a lot of traffic and an active social media campaign to boots the footfalls and online sales.
- Differentiate: Diversify your product portfolio with customized & unique products. A significant portion of products bought is intended as a gift, and thus SMBs must offer something unique. Personalized wine bottles and a video of loved ones which plays after scanning QR code, can be hotcakes. Hand-made merchandise can also be a big seller. The mantra remains the same, Differentiate!
- Automate: Deploy technology to speed up your supply chain, and eliminate errors, as well as manage inventory and avoid stockouts.
- Consulting: Consumers deal with a lot of information, and it is challenging to decide. Businesses can deploy chatbots to guide and help online buyers, while stores should have well-trained staff furnishing expert advice and trigger fast decisions. Also, organizations can develop an information ecosystem of the supply chain where customers such as farmers can get all the info on agriculture and make more informed decisions, thus expanding the market.
- Don’t Go Out-of-Stock: Though it might seem like an item in a retailer’s wish list, if your products go out-of-stock, the rating will fall in the web searches.
- Moderate Expectations: The days like Black Friday’s are full of uncertainty, so retailers must tone down their expectations, apply the right strategy and hope for the best. In 2018, Amazon skipped Prime day sales, so no one knows when the stars will shine.
- Contingency Plan: Any item may go out-of-stock, or suppliers might withdraw their support; thus, it is essential to have a contingency plan. Substitute products must be available (in the case of stock-outs) on your list, and you must have a strategy for similar worst-case scenarios.
Fuse Creativity & Technology
In toto, days like Black Friday are about being prepared to serve customers, be it online or physical stores. A well-functioning e-commerce website which can handle high traffic and deploy automation, coupled with smartly designed offers and creative social media campaigns can give a significant boost to your sales.
Our expertise has helped many firms “Digitalise” their business, and we have collaborated with many startups to deploy technology for creating value. If you are an organisation looking to incorporate technology, or a startup looking for a digital partner, do get in touch.