The clocks have gone back, it’s getting chilly outside, and you’re beginning to hear Michael Buble songs being played in your local Tesco. It’s safe to say that winter is here.
Winter, and the holiday season in general, has increasingly become associated with retail. Whilst Christmas and Boxing Day have been permanent fixtures, other dates, like Black Friday (which is the 23rd November this year) and Cyber Monday (the 26th November), have only recently become key parts of the holiday retail splurge.
A whopping £7.8 billion was spent over last year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, which was an 8% increase on transactions from the previous year according to Barclays. This demonstrates that people will spend their hard earned money, if they can find a great deal.
This has increased pressure on small businesses to do their own sale season. And it’s not too late to get a promotion set up in time for the upcoming sales.
Here are some simple things you can do to help you get the most out Black Friday and Cyber Monday:
So, how can you quickly prepare for Black Friday and offer customers the best possible value?
Have a think about if there a product you could offer for a discount that will provide real value for your customer. If it’s products you know don’t sell that well, it’s likely they still won’t sell, even at a cheaper price.
You could take a look at items that have sold well over the past year. Perhaps this will give you a clue of what your customers may be interested in.
Once you’ve decided on your product (or products), remember to review your stock and check that your inventory levels are correct to make sure you have enough of sales items for your customers. The last thing you want is to quickly run out of an in demand item, when many potential buyers are ready to spend.
If you are selling directly from your website during the sales season, it’s important that it is as easy to use as possible for your customers. Speak to your web developer, who can give it a check over to make sure everything is working as it should be.
You should also update your website to make it absolutely clear that you are having a sale.
A great idea is to create a banner to add to your homepage that is big and bold and in a bright colour (red works well for sales) to advertise that you’re having a Black Friday sale.
Make it clear which products are going to be on sale, the discount you’re applying if relevant (so 25% off, for example) and how long the sale is going to last to create a sense of urgency.
A sales season should hopefully mean more shoppers, and more shoppers means more things to do and more people to serve.
If you have a physical store, perhaps it might be worth your while hiring extra staff to help you deal with this time of the year.
You could hire temporary staff through agencies for a set period of work, or if you prefer, you could advertise for temporary staff to help you over the winter sales period. Why not do this through your local paper or you could use sites such as Job Today to post temporary positions?
Either way, if you are having a busy sales season, it’s probably advisable to have extra people in place to help you.
Even if your business is online, you may still need to hire extra people to help you with customer service, so they can deal with various queries that come in.
So, we’ve covered your website, but also have a think about where your promotion is going to be seen. Will you put it out across social media feeds or perhaps print some flyers and take some to the local market to hand out?
If you’re an online business, social media is like your shop front - it’s often the first thing your customers will see, so it’s really important you make a great first impression, and an offer is a great way to attract people’s attention.
If you have a physical store, you could advertise outside it - think pavement signs and big posters in your windows. Try and make it as visible as possible to attract people in through the door.
Why not go one step further and speak to other local businesses and see if there is any space in their store to promote your sales (and vice versa to return the favour).
For example, if you’re a clothes shop, see if you can put up a poster or leave some leaflets at your local cafe or coffee shop. This will help you attract the attention of a different audience who may not be aware of you. Plus, if you are close by it will be easy for them to come and find you.
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