Black Friday – Making it work for you as an SME

Black Friday – Making it work for you as an SME

Figures illustrate that as of October 2019, 87% of South Africans know about Black Friday. Further to this the number of South African’s partaking in the shopping spectacle has increased from 54.6% in 2017 to 66.5% in 2018 and the figure is expected to rise in 2019. According to Picodi.com, the Black Friday frenzy results in a 2571% growth in transactions compared to average daily sales. Despite these spikes however, small to medium entities appear to be struggling to find a foothold. To this end, here are a few considerations for small business owners to keep in mind during this period:

Use it as an opportunity to engage with your community

Asserting yourself as a part of the community is an advantageous position for an SME to adopt, as it may increase customer loyalty and interaction. During Black Friday it may be useful to offer deals that will increase community engagement in order to increase sales throughout the year as opposed to one day. In being responsive to the current technological climate it is important to be active both in the physical as well as the digital communities.

Essential to have an online/social media presence

The rise in Black Friday as the premium shopping event is attributable in no small part to the influence of the internet and more specifically social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Recent numbers illustrate that locally Tweets relating to Black Friday increased from 2.4 million on 12 November 2019 to 47.2 million by the 20th of the same month. Similarly, Facebook data indicates that Black Friday is the busiest online shopping day in South Africa. These two statistics are indicative of an increase in the number of South African’s shopping online, with a record making 64% of consumers stating that they will be shopping both online and offline.

Be mindful of your target market

Key to increasing opportunities for meaningful encounters with clients is an understanding of your target market; as evidence illustrates that both age group and location play a role in how consumers engage with Black Friday.

Shoppers in Gauteng for example are more likely to shop online than any other province, nearly 50% of them being content buying online only. While a comparison between Generation Z (those born between 1996-2010) and their +65 year old counterparts revealed that the latter where more skeptical – believing that prices are inflated prior to Black Friday in order to increase the perceived discounts. Eastern Cape as a province harboured this sense of mistrust the most, while KwaZulu-Natal in contrast had the highest level of interest in potential savings, followed by Mpumalanga and Limpopo. For the above reasons, the way in which you present your Black Friday specials is essential.

Play to your strengths instead of trying to compete with the larger outlets

As a small business you have the added advantage of knowing your current or potential client more intimately and therefore, should maximize this time to offer them deals that are as suitable to their needs as possible. While it may not be to your advantage to offer massive discounts such as the larger organizations, you are in the unique position to offer deals that are equally appealing based on the client’s desires. This means that while you may not be discounting your products or services, you are giving customers more value for their money. And a valued customer is the best source of word-of-mouth marketing, as loyal customers are five times more likely to purchase again and four times more likely to refer a friend. A staggering 96% of customers say that their loyalty is determined by the experience and not just the price.

Consider extending the Black Friday specials

There are three main reasons to consider extending the Black Friday experience over a few days or even weeks.

  • First are trends showing that customer interest starts growing the Wednesday before and fades the following Saturday.
  • Second is a sensitivity to the different salary dates. Over the past three years a number of South Africans budget around Black Friday, with more than 40% finalizing their shopping lists ahead of time. Meaning that advertising ahead of time as well as ensuring that the specials are still available on the various paydays may be beneficial.
  • With card transactions cleared on Black Friday 2017 being double the daily average, if a small business is able to generate enough Black Friday hype, spreading the sales over a number of days may prevent systems and staff being overwhelmed, leading to a compromised experience for the shopper.
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