What is Black Friday?

Popularised in the US the Friday after thanksgiving masses of people would flock to malls and online stores to shop and purchase discounted goods. Businesses around the world noticed this hype and the increase of sales. Naturally businesses adopted this holiday and now it’s a world-wide phenomenon. Cyber Monday has caught on too.

As a business owner, nothing will make you happier than having a 50-80% increase in sales on one holiday. If you would like to take part in Black Friday this year then keep reading.

How do you know what to sell and the discount to apply each item?

Let’s face it, you don’t want to lose money, discounts are first way not to make a profit. So, how do you discount without losing money?

Seems impossible right?!

Take for example a Spa Treatment:

Full Body Massage R 600   |   Aromatherapy Full Body Massage R 900   |   Hydrating Anti-Aging Facial R600


Retail Cost Actual Cost
1-hour full body massage R600 R300
Essential Oils R150 R10
Pampering Facial R250 R30
Skin Analysis and Consult R300 R0
  R1300 R340

 Black Friday Special:

Full Body Essential Oil Massage with Pampering Facial
Was R1300  – Now R 800

Have you lost money on this deal? Looks like you’ve made double!

This example can work in most industries. Offering a service that actually costs nothing. But by assigning a value makes the whole package seem more expensive.

Can you apply this ‘discount formula’ to your products? Yes, then you can definitely take part in Black Friday.


How do you make the right decision on which products to sell? For businesses that have participated in previous years, look back at the previous years:

  • Which items sold well or ran out of stock?
  • At what price did you have the item listed at vs regular sale price – can you better the price again, if not. Leave this item off and list a similar item.
  • How did you market these items? What was the description or sales terms you used and can you use similar words for other items to increase sales?

Look at your current stock:

  • Do you have any seasonal items that would sell well during this time of year?
  • Are you currently stocking loads of an item that needs to move?
  • Do you have a service that you can bundle together with an item to help it get sold?
  • Do you know your customer base well enough to anticipate what they are looking for?

How do you know what your customer wants to buy?

Gain some insight by asking them. Yip! Just ask the masses by posting a survey or voting on Facebook. Get some feedback from the general public and use that information against the answers your clients give.

Use your email database and send an email to your customers with a link to your website and have a survey on your site. A simple form (it can be anonymous), with items you wish to sell and popular items.

Selling popular items during this holiday make sense but, does it? Wouldn’t you want to sell some items that have been in your storeroom for a while? Of course, you do.

List a few popular items and a few that you need to sell and see what the interest is.

Maybe have a suggestion box: They could list an item that you maybe once sold them?

Always look for input from your customers so you can be sure you’re offering them the deals they actually want.


Here is a check list to help you get prepped for Black Friday

1: Notify your customers as early as possible.

The sooner your customers know about your offers, the better positioned they’ll be to take advantage of them—and the more revenue you’ll bring in.

At least a month before Black Friday you need to start advertising. These adverts need to be eye catching, and attract your target audience to drive sales and create excitement for Black Friday! Click here to view our pricing to help you.


 2: Are you selling online? Are your checkout and delivery processes perfect?

If your check out process is difficult to use your shopper will abandon their cart and move to your competitor!

Make sure they understand they need to have an account to shop on your store so they don’t feel overwhelmed when they go to check out and have to fill in a large form just to buy something.

You will want to make sure your site can handle the load of people shopping on your site all at once. If the site lags, drops connection or simply gives up and shows a 404 error then you’ve lost that business.

If you’re listing items online but the purchases or discounts only apply instore – have this information listed.



3: Make sure your SEO is optimised for shoppers.

Closer to Black Friday some shoppers will log onto your site and start searching for the items they wish to purchase. Having string SEO and proper descriptions helps the shopper make a more informed decision.

As you write your product descriptions and ads, work in terms that convey a sense of urgency like “limited offer,” “only one left,” or “limited stock.”

And most importantly: Make sure you have good product images.


4: Use as many marketing platforms as you can!

You’ll definitely want to use your email list, as that’s your most direct line to people interested in your products. But be sure you also focus on your social platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

The best advice I can give you is to ensure you have trackable links on these adverts. See which platform gave you the most traffic. If for example Facebook and your emails gave you the most traffic, then you can focus more energy on those two than the four you initially started with. Analytics are your friend!

Just something to keep in mind: Email inboxes are especially noisy during this time, so try to come up with unique, interesting subject lines that will pop in your customers inboxes. Remember to personalise your emails, market research shows that a personalised email will be read, whereas generic emails are seen as impersonal and deleted.

Target each email correctly, you wouldn’t want to promote a man’s product to a woman unless you are suggesting gift ideas for the partner or parent.

Be intentional with your posts. Be sure you’re matching the right content (images, video, text) with the right platform and the right audience.



5: Selling online

Are you prepared to process and ship a large number of orders to customers?

Make sure all staff are trained on your policies—including shipping and returns—and know how to handle requests. Empower them to make decisions themselves so they can help quickly. Be sure that everyone understands what to do if the site slows down or customers are having checkout issues.

Is your site mobile friendly? More and more shoppers are buying online and using their cellphones to browse the web.



6: Stock Levels!

Keeping an eye on your stock is especially important during the Black Friday shopping season, when your store can experience a massive spike in orders. Manage your inventory closely. If you can’t set up your website or storefront to do it automatically, change your descriptions manually to let your customers know when an item is running low.

Letting shoppers know an item is almost gone could create the extra incentive they need to commit to a purchase.

What about in the shop, do you have enough stock on the floor in the storeroom to cater for all the customers? If not, you will need to state: ‘While stocks last’ as this can open a window for a client to request the sale price after the holiday has ended.



7: Feeling Special

Make the customer feel special by having extended shopping hours. Stay open 3 hours later to cater for the people that have been at work all day. Or better yet!

Have a pre-black Friday afterhours special: Stay open late on the Thursday evening: hand out say 50 ‘early bird cards’ to top customers and maybe a give-away to say 10 people on Facebook (this makes it sound limited and exciting).



8: How do I keep that new customer coming back for more?

Offer a minimum spend reward. Example:

For every R 1000 spent today, we will offer you 10% off your next purchase.

Fine print: With in a 2-week period. You must keep the till slip to qualify

If this strategy is something you’d want to try, you can also make the rewards in tiers. So customers who buy more things get even more rewards. Just make sure you remain profitable.



9: How to make your campaigns better than the next email?

It’s a Mystery! No really mystery boxes: These can be a lot of fun and they can contain little nick-nacks that take up stock space in your storeroom but, paired with a desirable item.

Making them limited will add desirability to them and one box will have the ‘grand prize’! It has to be something that grabs your audience’s attention. Thanks to the ‘gambling’ nature of the mystery box, certain customers may buy one or more boxes on impulse.

This is one of the best Black Friday ideas for small businesses as you can spread your profits across multiple products.



Last thoughts

What about COVID-19? Since this Black Friday will be the first time, we won’t be able to stand in long queues and bunch up in a shop, most of the shopping will be online. So, get your websites ready for the traffic and ensure your site and employees can handle the huge volume. If you need me to help you with your website feel free to contact me.

If your product needs paring, team up with other small businesses: Working with small businesses that complement what you sell can be great for business. For example, if you sell wine openers, you can team up with wine brands.

Focus on your most popular products to avoid spreading yourself too thin. Quality is more important than quantity

If you market yourself effectively, you’re going to have increased order volume, so be sure to have a plan in place to handle those orders in a timely, efficient manner. Let customers track their orders to give them peace of mind and alleviate shipping inquiries on your end.

No plan is perfect, but this checklist will ensure that you’ve considered every eventuality. Get out there, make your plan, and be prepared to reap the benefits.

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