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Small Businesses: Black Friday is Two Weeks Away - 6 Tips to Stay Competitive

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Small business owners: Don’t panic, but there are only two weeks to prepare for the upcoming shopping madness. Black Friday has turned into a week-long affair followed by Cyber Monday, one of the biggest online shopping days of the year.

This is an excellent time to be a small business owner! Customers want to support locally owned businesses, especially around the holidays. If corporate retailers are offering week-long deals and promotions, it’s crucial for small businesses to follow suit to stay competitive. 

Here are 6 tips for small businesses to stay competitive during Black Friday week:

  1. Offer something different each day: Offer an array of products and/or services to keep excitement levels high and customers on their toes. Mix up a variety of price incentives. Through these offers, you may be able to engage your customers for longer than just one day. 

  2. Develop week-long specials: Black Friday has become a week-long extravaganza, so run deals all week. Experiment with flash deals to incentivize customers to shop that hour or minute. Develop a schedule that showcases what your business is offering on what days. Open early or extend hours to maximize your window of opportunity.

  3. Offer freebies: For example, offer free shipping ensuring timely arrival, or free gift wrapping, or even a small gift with purchase to show customers you appreciate their business. Do you own a restaurant or coffee shop? Offer a free appetizer or drink to draw in those busy and hungry shoppers.

  4. Get the word out: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Vine, and other free social media outlets can be great tools. These applications are easy to use and can be extremely effective. You can even spend a little money and run some online social media ads. Geo- and demographic-targeting are available to reel in the right customers. Start a countdown marking when your promotion starts, or drop customers hints early in the week as to what you are offering throughout the week to create buzz. On Twitter, use popular hashtags such as #BlackFriday. People enjoy engaging with your business as much as they love getting the products or services for a steal.

  5. Make your customers comfortable: Shopping during this busy time can be overwhelming. Showing customers you care by offering small tokens of appreciation will make them feel valued and entice them to become a repeat customer. For example, set up a table and offer cookies, hot chocolate, coffee, or water. Make sure you have well-trained employees at the register and around your store assisting those when needed. 

  6. Plan ahead: Have a detailed plan outlining what you are offering and when. Make sure your staff is fully prepped, and you have ample inventory. If you have ecommerce capabilities, Cyber Monday can generate a lot of traffic to your website, so ensure your network servers are able to handle the increased traffic. Monitor your systems, or pay someone to do so, so that if something goes awry, glitches can be resolved immediately.

Be on the lookout for a blog article next week highlighting Small Business Saturday.

Source: http://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/marketing/11-black-friday-marketing-tips-for-your-small-business/

Posted: November 13, 2014

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